Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48824
We identified the cytochrome P450 sterol 14α—demethylase (CYP51A1) gene from Venturia inaequalis and optional insertions located upstream from CYP51A1 and evaluated their potential role in conferring resistance to the sterol demethylation-inhibitor (DMI) fungicide my-clobutanil. The CYP51A1 gene was completely sequenced from one my-clobutanil sensitive (S) and two myclobutanil-resistant (R) strains. No nucleotide variation was found when the three sequences were aligned. Allele-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis indicated that a previously described single base pair mutation that correlated with resistance to DMI fungicides in strains of other filamentous fungi was absent in 19 S and 32 R strains of V. inaequalis from Michigan and elsewhere. The sequencing results and PCR analyses suggest that resistance in these strains was not due to a mutation in the sterol demethylase target site for DMI fungicides. Expression of CYP51A1 was determined for strains from an orchard that had never been sprayed with DMI fungicides (baseline orchard), and the data provided a reference for evaluating the expression of strains collected from a research orchard and from three commercial Michigan apple orchards with a long history of DMI use and a high frequency of R strains. Overexpression of CYP51A1 was significantly higher in 9 of 11 R strains from the research orchard than in S strains from the baseline orchard. The high expression was correlated with the presence of a 553-bp insertion located upstream of CYP51A1. Overexpression of the CYP51A1 gene was also detected in eight of eight, five of nine, and nine of nine R strains from three commercial orchards, but the insertion was not detected in the majority of these strains. The results suggest that overexpression of the target-site CYP51A1 gene is an important mechanism of resistance in some field resistant strains of V. inaequalis, but other mechanisms of resistance also appear to exist.