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Identification of Eighteen Berberis Species as Alternate Hosts of Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici and Virulence Variation in the Pathogen Isolates from Natural Infection of Barberry Plants in China

September 2013 , Volume 103 , Number  9
Pages  927 - 934

Jie Zhao, Long Wang, Zhiyan Wang, Xianming Chen, Hongchang Zhang, Juanni Yao, Gangming Zhan, Wen Chen, Lili Huang, and Zhensheng Kang

First, second, third, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth authors: Key State Laboratory of Crop Stress Biology for Arid Areas and College of Plant Protection, Northwest A&F University, Yangling, Shaanxi 712100, China; fourth author: United States Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service, Wheat Genetics, Quality, Physiology, and Disease Research Unit and Department of Plant Pathology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-6430; and fifth author: Key State Laboratory of Crop Stress Biology for Arid Areas and College of Life Sciences, Northwest A&F University.

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Accepted for publication 10 March 2013.

The wheat stripe rust pathogen (Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici) population in China has been reported to be a distinct genetic group with higher diversity than those in many other countries. Genetic recombination in the P. striiformis f. sp. tritici population has been identified with molecular markers but whether sexual reproduction occurs in China is unknown. In this study, we surveyed barberry plants for infection by rust fungi in the stripe rust “hotspot” regions in Gansu, Sichuan, and Shaanxi provinces; collected barberry plants and inoculated plants of 20 Berberis spp. with germinated teliospores under controlled greenhouse conditions for susceptibility to P. striiformis f. sp. tritici; and tested P. striiformis f. sp. tritici isolates obtained from aecia on naturally infected barberry plants on the wheat genotypes used to differentiate Chinese P. striiformis f. sp. tritici races to determine virulence variations. Different Berberis spp. were widely distributed and most surveyed plants had pycnia and aecia of rust fungi throughout the surveyed regions. In total, 28 Berberis spp. were identified during our study. From 20 Berberis spp. tested with teliospores of P. striiformis f. sp. tritici from wheat plants, 18 species were susceptible under greenhouse conditions. Among 3,703 aecia sampled from barberry plants of three species (Berberis shensiana, B. brachypoda, and B. soulieana) under natural infections in Gansu and Shaanxi provinces, four produced P. striiformis f. sp. tritici uredinia on susceptible wheat ‘Mingxian 169’. Sequence of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions of the four isolates from barberry shared 99% identity with the P. striiformis f. sp. tritici sequences in the National Center for Biotechnology Information database. The four isolates had virulence patterns different from all previously reported races collected from wheat plants. Furthermore, 82 single-uredinium isolates obtained from the four barberry isolates had high virulence diversity rates of 9.0 to 28.1%, indicating that the diverse isolates were produced through sexual reproduction on barberry plants under natural conditions. In addition to P. striiformis f. sp. tritici, sequence analysis of polymerase chain reaction products of the ITS regions and inoculation tests on wheat identified P. graminis (the stem rust pathogen). Our results indicated that P. striiformis f. sp. tritici can infect some Berberis spp. under natural conditions, and the sexual cycle of the fungus may contribute to the diversity of P. striiformis f. sp. tritici in China.

Additional keyword: pathotypes.

© 2013 The American Phytopathological Society