- Besides photosynthates, dodder (Cuscuta spp.) acquires phloem-mobile proteins from host; however, whether this could mediate inter-species phenotype transfer was not demonstrated. Specifically, we test whether phosphinothricin acetyl transferase (PAT) that confers host plant glufosinate herbicide tolerance traffics and functions inter-specifically.
- Dodder tendrils excised from hosts can grow in vitro for weeks or resume in vivo by parasitizing new hosts. The level of PAT in in vivo and in vitro dodder tendrils was quantified by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The glufosinate sensitivity was examined by dipping the distal end of in vivo and in vitro tendrils, growing on or excised from LibertyLink® (LL; PAT-transgenic and glufosinate tolerant) and conventional (CN; glufosinate sensitive) soybean hosts, into glufosinate solutions for 5 s. After in vitro tendrils excised from LL hosts reparasitized new CN and LL hosts, the PAT level and the glufosinate sensitivity were also examined.
- When growing on LL host, dodder tolerated glufosinate and contained PAT at a level of 0.3% of that encountered in LL soybean leaf. After PAT was largely degraded in dodders, they became glufosinate sensitive. PAT mRNA was not detected by reverse transcription PCR in dodders.
- In conclusion, the results indicated that PAT inter-species trafficking confers dodder glufosinate tolerance.