A tall waterhemp population from Missisippi was suspected to be resistant to glyphosate. Glyphosate dose response experiments resulted in GR50 (dose required to reduce plant growth by 50%) values of 1.28 and 0.28 kg ae ha−1 glyphosate for the glyphosate-resistant (GR) and -susceptible (GS) populations, respectively, indicating a five-fold resistance. The absorption pattern of 14C-glyphosate between the GR and GS populations was similar up to 24 h after treatment (HAT). Thereafter, the susceptible population absorbed more glyphosate (55 and 49% of applied) compared to the resistant population (41 and 40% of applied) by 48 and 72 HAT, respectively. Treatment of a single leaf in individual plants with glyphosate at 0.84 kg ha−1, in the form of 10 1-µl droplets, provided greater control (85 vs. 29%) and shoot fresh weight reduction (73 vs. 34% of nontreated control) of the GS plants compared to the GR plants, possibly indicating a reduced movement of glyphosate in the GR plants. The amount of 14C-glyphosate that translocated out of the treated leaves of GR plants (20% of absorbed at 24 HAT and 23% of absorbed at 48 HAT) was significantly lower than the GS plants (31% of absorbed at 24 HAT and 32% of absorbed at 48 HAT). A potential difference in shikimate accumulation between GR and GS populations at different concentrations of glyphosate was also studied in vitro. The IC50 (glyphosate concentration required to cause shikimate accumulation at 50% of peak levels measured) values for the GR and GS populations were 480 and 140 µM of glyphosate, respectively, resulting in more shikimate accumulation in the GS than the GR population. Sequence analysis of 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS), the target site of glyphosate, from GR and GS plants identified a consistent single nucleotide polymorphism (T/C, thymine/cytosine) between GR/GS plants, resulting in a proline to serine amino acid substitution at position 106 in the GR population. The GR and GS plants contained equal genomic copy number of EPSPS, which was positively correlated with EPSPS gene expression. Thus, glyphosate resistance in the tall waterhemp population from Mississippi is due to both altered target site and nontarget site mechanisms. This is the first report of an altered EPSPS-based resistance in a dicot weed species that has evolved resistance to glyphosate.
Nomenclature: Glyphosate; tall waterhemp, Amaranthus tuberculatus (Moq.) Sauer.