Sterol demethylation inhibitors or DMIs have been widely used to manage agronomically important fungal diseases in wheat, but reports of DMI-resistant pathogens continue to mount. Parastagonospora nodorum shows a wide range of sensitivity to DMIs, but until now no molecular mechanisms were identified to explain these differences. The aim of this study was to correlate the DMI sensitivity of a global collection of P. nodorum isolates with mutations in the CYP51 gene that encodes the target of DMI fungicides.
Two non-synonymous mutations connected to DMI resistance in other plant pathogenic fungi were detected for the first time in the CYP51 gene of P. nodorum. The two mutations occurred at amino acid position 144, which is homologous to position 137 in other pathogens. The Y144F mutation was detected in China, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland while the Y144H mutation was found in China and Switzerland. Both mutations were correlated with significantly reduced susceptibility to the DMI fungicide propiconazole.
CYP51 mutations conferred reduced sensitivity against DMIs in field populations of P. nodorum originating from China, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland.