Colonization of barley by the broad-host hemibiotrophic pathogen Phytophthora palmivora uncovers a leaf development dependent involvement of MLO

Ruth Le Ferve, Bridget O'Boyle, Matthew Moscou, Sebastian Schornack

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The discovery of barley Mlo demonstrated that filamentous pathogens rely on plant genes to achieve entry and lifecycle completion in barley leaves. While having a dramatic effect on foliar pathogens, it is unclear whether overlapping or distinct mechanisms affect filamentous pathogen infection of roots. To remove the bias connected with using different pathogens to understand colonization mechanisms in different tissues, we have utilized the aggressive hemibiotrophic oomycete pathogen Phytophthora palmivora. P. palmivora colonizes root as well as leaf tissues of barley (Hordeum vulgare). The infection is characterized by a transient biotrophy phase with formation of haustoria. Barley accessions varied in degree of susceptibility, with some accessions fully resistant to leaf infection. Notably, there was no overall correlation between degree of suscepti- bility in roots compared with leaves, suggesting that variation in different genes influences host susceptibility above and be- low ground. In addition, a developmental gradient influenced infection, with more extensive colonization observed in mature leaf sectors. The mlo5 mutation attenuates P. palmivora in- fection but only in young leaf tissues. The barley–P. palmivora interaction represents a simple system to identify and compare genetic components governing quantitative colonization in di- verse barley tissue types.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-395
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Plant-Microbe Interactions
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2016


  • Appressoria
  • haustoria
  • Hordeum vulgare
  • leaf development oomycete
  • roots

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