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Novel Necrotrophic Effectors from Stagonospora nodorum and Corresponding Host Sensitivities in Winter Wheat Germplasm in the Southeastern United States

May 2012 , Volume 102 , Number  5
Pages  498 - 505

A. D. Crook, T. L. Friesen, Z. H. Liu, P. S. Ojiambo, and C. Cowger

First and fourth authors: Department of Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695; second author: Northern Crop Science Laboratory, U.S. Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), Fargo, ND 58105; third author: Department of Plant Pathology, North Dakota State University, Fargo 58108; and fifth author: USDA-ARS, Department of Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh 27695.

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Accepted for publication 1 January 2012.

Stagonospora nodorum blotch (SNB), caused by the necrotrophic fungus Stagonospora nodorum (teleomorph: Phaeosphaeria nodorum), is among the most common diseases of winter wheat in the United States. New opportunities in resistance breeding have arisen from the recent discovery of several necrotrophic effectors (NEs, also known as host-selective toxins) produced by S. nodorum, along with their corresponding host sensitivity (Snn) genes. Thirty-nine isolates of S. nodorum collected from wheat debris or grain from seven states in the southeastern United States were used to investigate the production of NEs in the region. Twenty-nine cultivars with varying levels of resistance to SNB, representing 10 eastern-U.S. breeding programs, were infiltrated with culture filtrates from the S. nodorum isolates in a randomized complete block design. Three single-NE Pichia pastoris controls, two S. nodorum isolate controls, and six Snn-differential wheat controls were also used. Cultivar–isolate interactions were visually evaluated for sensitivity at 7 days after infiltration. Production of NEs was detected in isolates originating in each sampled state except Maryland. Of the 39 isolates, 17 produced NEs different from those previously characterized in the upper Great Plains region. These novel NEs likely correspond to unidentified Snn genes in Southeastern wheat cultivars, because NEs are thought to arise under selection pressure from genes for resistance to biotrophic pathogens of wheat cultivars that differ by geographic region. Only 3, 0, and 23% of the 39 isolates produced SnToxA, SnTox1, and SnTox3, respectively, by the culture-filtrate test. A Southern dot-blot test showed that 15, 74, and 39% of the isolates carried the genes for those NEs, respectively; those percentages were lower than those found previously in larger international samples. Only two cultivars appeared to contain known Snn genes, although half of the cultivars displayed sensitivity to culture filtrates containing unknown NEs. Effector sensitivity was more frequent in SNB-susceptible cultivars than in moderately resistant (MR) cultivars (P = 0.008), although some susceptible cultivars did not exhibit sensitivity to NEs produced by isolates in this study and some MR cultivars were sensitive to NEs of multiple isolates. Our results suggest that NE sensitivities influence but may not be the only determinant of cultivar resistance to S. nodorum. Specific knowledge of NE and Snn gene frequencies in this region can be used by wheat breeding programs to improve SNB resistance.

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.