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Characterization of CbCyp51 from Field Isolates of Cercospora beticola

March 2012 , Volume 102 , Number  3
Pages  298 - 305

Melvin D. Bolton, Keshav Birla, Viviana Rivera-Varas, Kurt D. Rudolph, and Gary A. Secor

First author: United States Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service, Northern Crop Science Laboratory, Fargo, ND; and second, third, fourth, and fifth authors: Department of Plant Pathology, North Dakota State University, Fargo.

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Accepted for publication 12 October 2011.

The hemibiotrophic fungus Cercospora beticola causes leaf spot of sugar beet. Leaf spot control measures include the application of sterol demethylation inhibitor (DMI) fungicides. However, reduced sensitivity to DMIs has been reported recently in the Red River Valley sugar beet-growing region of North Dakota and Minnesota. Here, we report the cloning and molecular characterization of CbCyp51, which encodes the DMI target enzyme sterol P450 14α-demethylase in C. beticola. CbCyp51 is a 1,632-bp intron-free gene with obvious homology to other fungal Cyp51 genes and is present as a single copy in the C. beticola genome. Five nucleotide haplotypes were identified which encoded three amino acid sequences. Protein variant 1 composed 79% of the sequenced isolates, followed by protein variant 2 that composed 18% of the sequences and a single isolate representative of protein variant 3. Because resistance to DMIs can be related to polymorphism in promoter or coding sequences, sequence diversity was assessed by sequencing >2,440 nucleotides encompassing CbCyp51 coding and flanking regions from isolates with varying EC50 values (effective concentration to reduce growth by 50%) to DMI fungicides. However, no mutations or haplotypes were associated with DMI resistance or sensitivity. No evidence for alternative splicing or differential methylation of CbCyp51 was found that might explain reduced sensitivity to DMIs. However, CbCyp51 was overexpressed in isolates with high EC50 values compared with isolates with low EC50 values. After exposure to tetraconazole, isolates with high EC50 values responded with further induction of CbCyp51, with a positive correlation of CbCyp51 expression and tetraconazole concentration up to 2.5 μg ml–1.

This article is in the public domain and not copyrightable. It may be freely reprinted with customary crediting of the source. The American Phytopathological Society, 2012.