Distinct detoxification mechanisms confer resistance to mesotrione and atrazine in a population of waterhemp

Rong Ma, Shiv S. Kaundun, Patrick J. Tranel, Chance W. Riggins, Daniel L. McGinness, Aaron G. Hager, Tim Hawkes, Eddie Indoe Mc, Dean E. Riechers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous research reported the first case of resistance to mesotrione and other 4-hydroxyphenylpyruvate dioxygenase (HPPD) herbicides in a waterhemp (Amaranthus tuberculatus) population designated MCR (for McLean County mesotrione- and atrazineresistant). Herein, experiments were conducted to determine if target site or nontarget site mechanisms confer mesotrione resistance in MCR. Additionally, the basis for atrazine resistance was investigated in MCR and an atrazine-resistant but mesotrione-sensitive population (ACR for Adams County mesotrione-sensitive but atrazine-resistant).Astandard sensitive population (WCS for Wayne County herbicide-sensitive) was also used for comparison. Mesotrione resistance was not due to an alteration in HPPD sequence, HPPD expression, or reduced herbicide absorption. Metabolism studies using whole plants and excised leaves revealed that the time for 50% of absorbed mesotrione to degrade in MCR was significantly shorter than in ACR and WCS, which correlated with previous phenotypic responses to mesotrione and the quantity of the metabolite 4-hydroxy-mesotrione in excised leaves. The cytochrome P450 monooxygenase inhibitors malathion and tetcyclacis significantly reduced mesotrione metabolism in MCR and corn (Zea mays) excised leaves but not in ACR. Furthermore, malathion increased mesotrione activity in MCR seedlings in greenhouse studies. These results indicate that enhanced oxidative metabolism contributes significantly to mesotrione resistance in MCR. Sequence analysis of atrazine-resistant (MCR and ACR) and atrazine-sensitive (WCS) waterhemp populations detected no differences in the psbA gene. The times for 50% of absorbed atrazine to degrade in corn, MCR, and ACR leaves were shorter than in WCS, and a polar metabolite of atrazine was detected in corn, MCR, and ACR that cochromatographed with a synthetic atrazineglutathione conjugate. Thus, elevated rates of metabolism via distinct detoxification mechanisms contribute to mesotrione and atrazine resistance within the MCR population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-377
Number of pages15
JournalPlant physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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