Stress and sexual reproduction affect the dynamics of the wheat pathogen effector AvrStb6 and strobilurin resistance

Gerrit H.J. Kema*, Amir Mirzadi Gohari, Lamia Aouini, Hesham A.Y. Gibriel, Sarah B. Ware, Frank van Den Bosch, Robbie Manning-Smith, Vasthi Alonso-Chavez, Joe Helps, Sarrah Ben M’Barek, Rahim Mehrabi, Caucasella Diaz-Trujillo, Elham Zamani, Henk J. Schouten, Theo A.J. van der Lee, Cees Waalwijk, Maarten A. de Waard, Pierre J.G.M. de Wit, Els C.P. Verstappen, Bart P.H.J. ThommaHarold J.G. Meijer, Michael F. Seidl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


Host resistance and fungicide treatments are cornerstones of plant-disease control. Here, we show that these treatments allow sex and modulate parenthood in the fungal wheat pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici. We demonstrate that the Z. tritici–wheat interaction complies with the gene-for-gene model by identifying the effector AvrStb6, which is recognized by the wheat resistance protein Stb6. Recognition triggers host resistance, thus implying removal of avirulent strains from pathogen populations. However, Z. tritici crosses on wheat show that sex occurs even with an avirulent parent, and avirulence alleles are thereby retained in subsequent populations. Crossing fungicide-sensitive and fungicide-resistant isolates under fungicide pressure results in a rapid increase in resistance-allele frequency. Isolates under selection always act as male donors, and thus disease control modulates parenthood. Modeling these observations for agricultural and natural environments reveals extended durability of host resistance and rapid emergence of fungicide resistance. Therefore, fungal sex has major implications for disease control.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-380
JournalNature Genetics
Early online date12 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


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