Discovery of a functional Mycosphaerella teleomorph in the presumed asexual barley pathogen Septoria passerinii

S.B. Ware, E.C.P. Verstappen, J. Breeden, J.R. Cavaletto, S.B. Goodwin, C. Waalwijk, P.W. Crous, G.H.J. Kema

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We studied the possibility of a teleomorph associated with the genotypically diverse septoria speckled leaf blotch (SSLB) pathogen of barley, Septoria passerinii. A teleomorph in the genus Mycosphaerella had been predicted previously based on phylogenetic analyses. This prediction was tested with experiments in the Netherlands and the United States by co-inoculating isolates with opposite mating types onto susceptible barley cultivars and monitoring leaves for sexual structures and for the discharge of ascospores. Characterization of putative hybrid progeny by both molecular (AFLP, RAPD, mating type, and ITS sequencing) and phenotypic analyses confirmed that a Mycosphaerella teleomorph of S. passerinii has been discovered approximately 125 years after the description of the anamorph. Progeny had recombinant genotypes of the molecular alleles present in the parents, and the identities of representative progeny isolates as S. passerinii were confirmed by ITS sequencing. A previously unknown sexual cycle explains the high degree of genetic variation among isolates found in nature. The experimental identification of a predicted teleomorph for S. passerinii indicates that cryptic sexual cycles may be common for many other ¿asexual¿ fungi with high levels of genotypic diversity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-397
JournalFungal Genetics and Biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • mating-type idiomorphs
  • cryptococcus-neoformans
  • rhynchosporium-secalis
  • fusarium-oxysporum
  • leaf blotch
  • graminicola pathosystem
  • sexual reproduction
  • genetic-variation
  • tritici blotch
  • host cultivars


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