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PCR assays for the sugarcane rust pathogens Puccinia kuehnii and P. melanocephala and detection of a SNP associated with geographical distribution in P. kuehnii

Glynn, N.C., Dixon, L.J., Castlebury, L.A., Szabo, L.J., Comstock, J.C.
Plant pathology 2010 v.59 no.4 pp. 703
Puccinia, Puccinia melanocephala, plant pathogenic fungi, rust diseases, ribosomal DNA, internal transcribed spacers, polymerase chain reaction, single nucleotide polymorphism, zoogeography, spore dispersal, sugarcane, Saccharum officinarum, host plants, DNA primers, Saccharum
Puccinia kuehnii and P. melanocephala cause orange and brown rust of sugarcane, respectively. Puccinia kuehnii has been confirmed in Asia, Australia and recently, the Caribbean basin, whereas P. melanocephala is distributed among the majority of sugarcane growing regions. Differentiating these two economically significant pathogens visually is problematic and limited to material exhibiting mature disease symptoms or spores. Partial ITS1, ITS2 and complete 5·8S sequences were generated from P. kuehnii and P. melanocephala isolates from around the world. PCR primers and dual labelled hydrolysis probes were designed for each pathogen for use in real-time PCR and optimized using locked nucleic acids (LNA). The primers amplified DNA from their target pathogens and not from other species of Puccinia or fungal species isolated from sugarcane leaves. Optimized real-time PCR conditions allowed the detection of 0·19 pg of P. kuehnii or P. melanocephala genomic DNA and differentiated the pathogens on sugarcane leaves prior to observing typical symptoms in the field. Primer-introduced restriction analysis-PCR (PIRA-PCR) was used to detect a single nucleotide polymorphism (Pk ITS1 183A>G) in ITS1 of P. kuehnii. Allele 183A was observed in all samples, whereas 183G was detected in 52% of samples from Asia and Australia yet absent from all Caribbean basin samples. Long distance spore dispersal, dispersal through an intermediate location or improper movement of contaminated material could explain the introduction of P. kuehnii to the Western hemisphere. However, the current proliferation of the pathogen in the Americas is limited to isolates which contain only the 183A allele.