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Keywords:

  • Alternaria alternata;
  • carboxamides;
  • oxidative stress;
  • pistachio;
  • ubiquinone-binding site

The molecular basis of resistance to the fungicide boscalid in 25 Alternaria alternata field mutants exhibiting resistance to boscalid and previously tested negative for AaSDHB mutations conferring boscalid resistance was investigated by cloning and sequencing the A. alternata SDHC (AaSDHC) and SDHD (AaSDHD) genes from a boscalid-sensitive isolate. The SDHB and SDHC/SDHD genes encode the iron sulphur and two membrane-anchored subunits of succinate:ubiquinone oxidoreductase (SQR) that constitute the boscalid fungicide molecular targets. The deduced amino acid sequences exhibited low similarities with SDHC and SDHD peptides from other organisms, but residues essential to form the ubiquinone binding site or important in SQR assembly were particularly conserved. Sequence comparisons of the AaSDHC and AaSDHD genes between resistant mutants and wild-type isolates revealed that two highly conserved histidine residues implicated in the heme b ligation and located at codon 134 in AaSDHC (22 mutants) and codon 133 in AaSDHD (two mutants) were replaced by arginine residues (H134R and H133R). In another mutant, a substitution of an aspartate by a glutamic acid occurred at amino acid position 123 (D123E) in AaSDHD. Additional tests revealed that mycelial growth of boscalid-resistant isolates was reduced when isolates were subjected to oxidative stress. The identified mutations were confirmed using PCR-RFLP assays. This is apparently the first report of mutations located in the heme b ligands of the cytochrome II gene associated with carboxamide resistance.