Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
The appearance of biotypes of the annual grass weed black-grass (Alopecurus myosuroides L. Huds), which are resistant to certain graminicides, is the most significant example of acquired resistance to herbicides seen so far in European agriculture. An investigation was perfomed into the basis of the specific cross-resistance to cyclohexanedione (CHD) and aryloxyphenoxypropionoic acid (AOPP) herbicides in the ‘Notts A1’ population of A. myosuroides, which survived treatment of fields with recommended rates of AOPP herbicides. In comparison with the wild-type ‘Rothamsted’ population, the resistant biotype showed over 100-fold resistance to these herbicides in a hydroponic growth system. Biosynthesis of fatty acids and activity of crude extracts of acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACCase) were commensurately less sensitive to these herbicides in Notts A1 compared with the Rothamsted biotype. These data are consistent with the hypothesis that the highly resistant population has arisen through selection of a mutant ACCase which is much less sensitive to the AOPP and CHD graminicides. Rapidly growing cell suspension cultures established from the Notts A1 population also showed high resistance indices for CHD or AOPP herbicides compared with cultures from the Rothamsted biotype. Fatty acid biosynthesis and ACCase activity in the cell suspensions were similarly sensitive towards the graminicides to those in the foliar tissue counterparts of the resistant and sensitive populations. Moreover, purification of the main (chloroplast) isoform of acetyl-CoA carboxylase showed that this enzyme from the Notts A1 population was over 200-fold less sensitive towards the AOPP herbicide, quizalofop, than the equivalent isoform from the Rothamsted population. These data again fully supported the proposal that resistance in the Notts biotype is due to an insensitive acetyl-CoA carboxylase isoform. Overall, cell suspensions were also demonstrated to be excellent tools for further investigation of the molecular basis of the high level herbicide resistance which is prone to occur in A. myosuroides.
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