Inhibitors of acetolactate synthase (ALS) are important herbicides for control of wild mustard, a common weed of the north central United States and Canada. Wild mustard that survived treatments with the ALS inhibitors cloransulam, imazethapyr, and thifensulfuron was sampled from a North Dakota soybean field in 1999. The mechanism of resistance and response of this wild mustard biotype to ALS-inhibiting herbicides was investigated. In vitro enzyme-inhibition experiments confirmed a resistance mechanism associated with the ALS enzyme; imazethapyr or imazamox at 1 × 10−4 M caused only 10 to 11% and 12 to 16% reductions in ALS activity, respectively. ALS from a susceptible wild mustard biotype was inhibited 50% (I50) with imazethapyr at 8 × 10−7 M or imazamox at 1.1 × 10−6 M. Whole-plant greenhouse treatments confirmed cross-resistance across ALS-inhibitor classes. Treatment with twice-normal field rates of thifensulfuron, ethametsulfuron, triflusulfuron, imazamox, imazethapyr, flumetsulam, cloransulam, flucarbazone, and imazamethabenz reduced biomass of the susceptible biotype at least 96% 28 d after treatment. Biomass of the resistant biotype was reduced 49% by triflusulfuron and 35% by thifensulfuron, but was not reduced by other herbicides. DNA sequence analysis of ALS genes from resistant and susceptible biotypes revealed a point mutation inferring a Trp-to-Leu amino acid substitution in ALS of the resistant biotype. This mutation, corresponding to position 574 of the Arabidopsis ALS amino acid sequence, is known to confer cross-resistance to ALS-inhibiting herbicides and is the probable cause of resistance in the wild mustard biotype. Phylogenetic analysis of wild mustard and canola ALS sequences confirmed that the Trp574 mutation arose within wild mustard and was not derived via introgression from imidazolinone-resistant canola. The results of this research indicate a naturally occurring target-site point mutation responsible for conferring cross-resistance to ALS-inhibiting herbicides in this wild mustard biotype.
Nomenclature: Cloransulam, ethametsulfuron, flucarbazone, flumetsulam, imazamethabenz, imazamox, imazethapyr, thifensulfuron, triflusulfuron, Arabidopsis, Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh., ARBTH; wild mustard, Sinapis arvensis L., SINAR; canola, Brassica napus L.; soybean, Glycine max (L.) Merr.