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Phytophthora infestans, the causal agent of late blight disease of potatoes, is mainly controlled by the use of fungicides. Isolates that are resistant to commonly used fungicides have been reported. Also, several studies show that originally mefenoxam-sensitive isolates acquire resistance to this fungicide when exposed to sublethal concentrations. This phenomenon, termed "mefenoxam-acquired resistance," has been observed in different Phytophthora species and seems to be unique to mefenoxam. In this study, we aimed to elucidate the molecular mechanism mediating this type of resistance as well as a possible regulatory process behind it. A combination of computational analyses and experimental approaches was used to identify differentially expressed genes with a potential association to the phenomenon. These genes were classified into seven functional groups. Most of them seem to be associated with a pleiotropic drug resistance (PDR) phenotype, typically involved in the expulsion of diverse metabolites, drugs, or other substances out of the cell. Despite the importance of RNA Polymerase I for the constitutive resistance of P. infestans to mefenoxam, our results indicate no clear interaction between this protein and the acquisition of mefenoxam resistance. Several small non-coding RNAs were found to be differentially expressed and specifically related to genes mediating the PDR phenotype, thus suggesting a possible regulatory process. We propose a model of the molecular mechanisms acting within the cell when P. infestans acquires resistance to mefenoxam after exposed to sublethal concentrations of the fungicide. This study provides important insights into P. infestans' cellular and regulatory functionalities.


Juliana González-Tobón, Richard Rabideau Childers, Alejandra Rodríguez, William Fry, Kevin L Myers, Jeremy R Thompson, Silvia Restrepo, Giovanna Danies. Searching for the Mechanism that Mediates Mefenoxam-Acquired Resistance in Phytophthora infestans and How It Is Regulated. Phytopathology. 2022 May;112(5):1118-1133

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PMID: 34763530

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