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Infection and Colonization of Turf-Type Bermudagrass by Ophiosphaerella herpotricha Expressing Green or Red Fluorescent Proteins

May 2010 , Volume 100 , Number  5
Pages  415 - 423

Oliver C. Caasi, Nathan R. Walker, Stephen M. Marek, James N. Enis, and Thomas K. Mitchell

First, second, third, and fourth authors: Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater 74078; and fifth author: Department of Plant Pathology, The Ohio State University, Columbus 43210.

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Accepted for publication 23 December 2009.

Spring dead spot, caused by Ophiosphaerella herpotricha, is the most important disease of turf-type bermudagrass (Cynodon spp.) in the transition zone of the United States. Despite the importance of the disease, only limited information is available about the host–pathogen interaction at the cellular level. To evaluate the host plant interaction, an isolate of O. herpotricha expressing green fluorescent proteins (GFP) or red fluorescent proteins (tdTomato) was used to study the infection and colonization of roots and stolons of several bermudagrass cultivars. Roots of cultivars Tifway 419 and Midlawn were colonized similarly, resulting in extensive root necrosis, whereas an accession of Cynodon transvaalensis was less necrotic. The stele of C. transvaalensis roots was colonized but not those of Tifway 419 and Midlawn. For intact stolons, colonization was limited to the epidermis and defined macroscopic necrotic lesions were observed on Tifway 419 and Midlawn while C. transvaalensis stolon tissues remained mostly nonnecrotic. Internal colonization of stolons occurred when hyphae grew into wounds, resulting in necrosis in Tifway 419 and Midlawn, but not in C. transvaalensis. These studies suggest that the interaction of O. herpotricha with bermudagrass varies across host genotypes and the host tissues infected. The limited necrosis in C. transvaalensis tissues, though colonized, suggests an inherent tolerance to O. herpotricha.

© 2010 The American Phytopathological Society