Purple false brome grass (Brachypodium distachyon) has recently emerged as a model system for temperate grasses and is also a potential model plant to investigate plant interactions with economically important pathogens such as rust fungi. We determined the host status of five Brachypodium species to three isolates of Puccinia brachypodii, the prevalent rust species on Brachypodium sylvaticum in nature, and to one isolate each of three formae speciales of the stripe rust fungus P. striiformis. Two P. striiformis isolates produced sporulating lesions, both in only one of the tested interactions, suggesting a marginal host status of B. distachyon. P. brachypodii formed sporulating uredinia on the five Brachypodium species tested, and a range of reactions was observed. Surprisingly, the B. sylvaticum–derived rust isolates were more frequently pathogenic to B. distachyon than to their original host species. The B. distachyon diploid inbred lines, developed and distributed as reference material to the Brachypodium research community, include susceptible and resistant genotypes to at least three of the four P. brachypodii isolates tested. This creates the opportunity to use B. distachyon/P. brachypodii as a model pathosystem. In one B. distachyon accession, heavy infection by the loose smut fungus Ustilago bromivora occurred. That pathogen could also serve as a model pathogen of Brachypodium.
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