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Resistance to AHAS inhibitor herbicides: current understanding

Authors

  • Qin Yu,

    Corresponding author
    1. Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative, School of Plant Biology, University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA, Australia
    • Correspondence to: Qin Yu, Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative, School of Plant Biology, University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia, E-mail: qin.yu@uwa.edu.au

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  • Stephen B Powles

    1. Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative, School of Plant Biology, University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA, Australia
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Abstract

Acetohydroxyacid synthase (AHAS) inhibitor herbicides currently comprise the largest site-of-action group (with 54 active ingredients across five chemical groups) and have been widely used in world agriculture since they were first introduced in 1982. Resistance evolution in weeds to AHAS inhibitors has been rapid and identified in populations of many weed species. Often, evolved resistance is associated with point mutations in the target AHAS gene; however non-target-site enhanced herbicide metabolism occurs as well. Many AHAS gene resistance mutations can occur and be rapidly enriched owing to a high initial resistance gene frequency, simple and dominant genetic inheritance and lack of major fitness cost of the resistance alleles. Major advances in the elucidation of the crystal structure of the AHAS (Arabidopsis thaliana) catalytic subunit in complex with various AHAS inhibitor herbicides have greatly improved current understanding of the detailed molecular interactions between AHAS, cofactors and herbicides. Compared with target-site resistance, non-target-site resistance to AHAS inhibitor herbicides is less studied and hence less understood. In a few well-studied cases, non-target-site resistance is due to enhanced rates of herbicide metabolism (metabolic resistance), mimicking that occurring in tolerant crop species and often involving cytochrome P450 monooxygenases. However, the specific herbicide-metabolising, resistance-endowing genes are yet to be identified in resistant weed species. The current state of mechanistic understanding of AHAS inhibitor herbicide resistance is reviewed, and outstanding research issues are outlined. © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry

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