Department of Plant Pathology, The Pennsylvania State University, PA 6802
Department of Agronomy, The Pennsylvania State University, PA 16802
Gray leaf spot is a serious disease of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) turf in the United States. Isolates of Pyricularia grisea causing the disease in perennial ryegrass were characterized using molecular markers and pathogenicity assays on various gramineous hosts. Genetic relationships among perennial ryegrass isolates were determined using different types of trans-posons as probes. Phylogenetic analysis using Pot2 and MGR586 probes, analyzed with AMOVA (analysis of molecular variance), showed that these isolates from perennial ryegrass consist of three closely related lineages. All the isolates belonged to a single mating type, MAT1-2. Among 20 isolates from 16 host species other than perennial ryegrass, only the isolates from wheat (Triticum aestivum) and triticale (× Triticosecale), showed notable similarity to the perennial ryegrass isolates based on their Pot2 fingerprints. The copy number and fingerprints of Pot2 and MGR586 in isolates of P. grisea from perennial ryegrass indicate that they are genetically distinct from the isolates derived from rice (Oryza sativa) in the United States. The perennial ryegrass isolates also had the same sequence in the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of the genes encoding ribosomal RNA as that of the wheat and triticale isolates, and exhibited rice isolate sequence polymorphisms. In pathogenicity assays, all the isolates of P. grisea from Legacy II perennial ryegrass caused characteristic blast symptoms on Marilee soft white winter wheat, Bennett hard red winter wheat, Era soft white spring wheat, and Presto triticale, and they were highly virulent on these hosts. An isolate from wheat and one from triticale (from Brazil) were also highly virulent on perennial ryegrass and Rebel III tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea). None of the isolates from perennial ryegrass caused the disease on Lagrue rice, and vice versa. Understanding the population structure of P. grisea isolates infecting perennial ryegrass and their relatedness to isolates from other gramineous hosts may aid in identifying alternate hosts for this pathogen.