Occurrence and distribution of mating types of pseudoperonospora cubensis in the United States

Anna Thomas, Ignazio Carbone, Yigal Cohen, Peter S. Ojiambo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


During the past two decades, a resurgence of cucurbit downy mildew has occurred around the world, resulting in severe disease epidemics. In the United States, resurgence of the disease occurred in 2004 and several hypotheses, including introduction of a new genetic recombinant or pathotype of the pathogen, have been suggested as potential causes for this resurgence. Occurrence and distribution of mating types of Pseudoperonospora cubensis in the United States were investigated using 40 isolates collected from cucurbits across 11 states from 2005 to 2013. Pairing of unknown isolates with known mating-Type tester strains on detached leaves of cantaloupe or cucumber resulted in oospore formation 8 to 10 days after inoculation. Isolates differed in their ability to form oospores across all coinoculation pairings, with oospore numbers ranging from 280 to 1,000 oospores/cm2 of leaf tissue. Oospores were hyaline to golden-yellow, spherical, and approximately 36 μm in diameter. Of the 40 isolates tested, 24 were found to be of the A1 mating type, while 16 were of the A2 mating type. Mating type was significantly (P < 0.0001) associated with host type, whereby all isolates collected from cucumber were of the A1 mating type, while isolates from squash and watermelon were of the A2 mating type. Similarly, mating type was significantly (P = 0.0287) associated with geographical region, where isolates from northern-Tier states of Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Ohio were all A1, while isolates belonging to either A1 or A2 mating type were present in equal proportions in southern-Tier states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas. Viability assays showed that oospores were viable and, on average, approximately 40% of the oospores produced were viable as determined by the plasmolysis method. This study showed that A1 and A2 mating types of P. cubensis are present and the pathogen could potentially reproduce sexually in cucurbits within the United States. In addition, the production of viable oospores reported in this study suggests that oospores could have an important role in the biology of P. cubensis and could potentially influence the epidemiology of cucurbit downy mildew in the United States.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-321
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2017

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© 2017 The American Phytopathological Society.


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