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Arg-128-Leu target-site mutation in PPO2 evolves in wild poinsettia (Euphorbia heterophylla) with cross-resistance to PPO-inhibiting herbicides

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 June 2020

Rafael R. Mendes
Graduate Student, Agronomy Department, State University of Maringá, Maringá, PR, Brazil
Hudson K. Takano
Postdoctoral Fellow, Agricultural Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA
Fernando S. Adegas
Weed Scientist, Embrapa Soybean, Londrina, PR, Brazil
Rubem S. Oliveira Jr
Professor, Agronomy Department, State University of Maringá, Maringá, PR, Brazil
Todd A. Gaines
Associate Professor, Agricultural Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA
Franck E. Dayan*
Professor, Agricultural Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA
Author for correspondence: Franck E. Dayan, Colorado State University, Agricultural Biology, 1177 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins, CO80523. Email:


Wild poinsettia (Euphorbia heterophylla L.) is a troublesome broadleaf weed in grain production areas in South America. Herbicide resistance to multiple sites of action has been documented in this species, including protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO) inhibitors. We investigated the physiological and molecular bases for PPO-inhibitor resistance in a E. heterophylla population (RPPO) from Southern Brazil. Whole-plant dose–response experiments revealed a cross-resistance profile to three different chemical groups of PPO inhibitors. Based on dose–response parameters, RPPO was resistant to lactofen (47.7-fold), saflufenacil (8.6-fold), and pyraflufen-ethyl (3.5-fold). Twenty-four hours after lactofen treatment (120 g ha−1) POST, RPPO accumulated 27 times less protoporphyrin than the susceptible population (SPPO). In addition, RPPO generated 5 and 4.5 times less hydrogen peroxide and superoxide than SPPO, respectively. The chloroplast PPO (PPO1) sequences were identical between the two populations, whereas 35 single-nucleotide polymorphisms were found for the mitochondrial PPO (PPO2). Based on protein homology modeling, the Arg-128-Leu (homologous to Arg-98-Leu in common ragweed [Ambrosia artemisiifolia L.] was the only one located near the catalytic site, also in a conserved region of PPO2. The cytochrome P450 monooxygenase inhibitor malathion did not reverse resistance to lactofen in RPPO, and both populations showed similar levels of PPO1 and PPO2 expression, suggesting that metabolic resistance and PPO overexpression are unlikely. This is the first report of an Arg-128-Leu mutation in PPO2 conferring cross-resistance to PPO inhibitors in E. heterophylla.

Research Article
Weed Science , Volume 68 , Issue 5 , September 2020 , pp. 437 - 444
© Weed Science Society of America, 2020

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Associate Editor: Te-Ming Paul Tseng, Mississippi State University


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Arg-128-Leu target-site mutation in PPO2 evolves in wild poinsettia (Euphorbia heterophylla) with cross-resistance to PPO-inhibiting herbicides
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Arg-128-Leu target-site mutation in PPO2 evolves in wild poinsettia (Euphorbia heterophylla) with cross-resistance to PPO-inhibiting herbicides
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