University of Hertfordshire

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Azole sensitivity in Leptosphaeria pathogens of oilseed rape: the role of lanosterol 14α-demethylase

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Original languageEnglish
Article number15849
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2017


Lanosterol 14-α demethy
lase is a key enzyme intermediating the biosynthesis of ergosterol in fungi,
and the target of azole fungicides. Studies have suggested that Leptosphaeria maculans and L.
biglobosa, the causal agents of phoma stem canker on oilseed rape, differ in their sensitivity to some
azoles, which could be driving pathogen frequency change in crops. Here we used CYP51 protein
modelling and heterologous expression to determine whether there are interspecific differences at the
target-site level. Moreover, we provide an example of intrinsic sensitivity differences exhibited by both
Leptosphaeria spp. in vitro and in planta. Comparison of homologous protein models identified highly
conserved residues, particularly at the azole binding site, and heterologous expression of LmCYP51B
and LbCYP51B, with fungicide sensitivity testing of the transformants, suggests that both proteins are
similarly sensitive to azole fungicides flusilazole, prothioconazole-desthio and tebuconazole. Fungicide
sensitivity testing on isolates shows that they sometimes have a minor difference in sensitivity in vitro
and in planta. These results suggest that azole fungicides remain a useful component of integrated
phoma stem canker control in the UK due to their effectiveness on both Leptosphaeria spp. Other
factors, such as varietal resistance or climate, may be driving observed frequency changes between


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