Mutations in the CYP51 gene correlated with changes in sensitivity to sterol 14α-demethylation inhibitors in field isolates of Mycosphaerella graminicola



In France, as in many other European countries, Mycosphaerella graminicola (Fuckel) Schröter in Cohn (anamorph Septoria tritici), the causal agent of wheat leaf blotch, is controlled by foliar applications of fungicides. With the recent generalization of resistance to strobilurins (QoIs), reliable control is mainly dependent upon inhibitors of sterol 14α-demethylation (DMIs). To date, strains with reduced sensitivity to DMIs are widespread, but disease control using members of this class of sterol biosynthesis inhibitors has not been compromised. In this study, sensitivity assays based on in vitro effects of fungicides towards germ-tube elongation allowed the characterization of seven DMI-resistant phenotypes. In four of them, cross-resistance was not observed between all tested DMIs; this characteristic concerned prochloraz, triflumizole, fluquinconazole and tebuconazole. Moreover, the highest resistant factors to most DMIs were found only in recent isolates; according to their response towards prochloraz, they were classified into two categories. Molecular studies showed that DMI resistance was associated with mutations in the CYP51 gene encoding the sterol 14α-demethylase. Alterations at codons 459, 460 and 461 were related to low resistance levels, whereas, at position 381, a valine instead of an isoleucine, in combination with the previous changes, determined the highest resistance levels to all DMIs except prochloraz. Mutations in codons 316 and 317 were also found in some isolates exhibiting low resistance factors towards most DMIs. Copyright © 2007 Society of Chemical Industry