A single nucleotide polymorphism in the β-tubulin gene distinguishing two genotypes of Erysiphe necator expressing different symptoms on grapevine



The biotrophic fungus Erysiphe necator (formerly Uncinula necator), for which two genetic groups have been described in European vineyards, is the causal agent of grapevine powdery mildew. By analysing the pathogen population with respect to polymorphism in the sequence of the β-tubulin gene, which distinguishes two groups of isolates, a new tool was developed for epidemiological and population studies and tested in the vineyard. As in many ascomycetes, the β-tubulin gene of E. necator (Entub) includes six introns and seven exons and encodes a 447-amino-acid protein. A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the intron-3 region of the Entub gene distinguished two genetic groups (A and B). This method was used to examine differences in the ratio of the two groups from a total of 289 grape powdery mildew samples collected at the beginning of the growing season from either flag shoots or leaves with sparse-spot symptoms in four different vineyards. The SNP in the intron-3 region of the β-tubulin gene, similar to SNPs in the CYP51 gene, was associated with genotypes A and B of E. necator and confirmed the existence of two sympatric populations of the pathogen in the French vineyards. Differences in the relative proportions of each group varied with the presence or absence of flag-shoot symptoms and with the region in which isolates had been collected.