Two red rice accessions from Arkansas have been found to be resistant to the labeled rate of imazethapyr, which is used to control red rice in ClearfieldTM rice. Full-length amplification of the acetolactate synthase (ALS) gene in imazethapyr-resistant red rice revealed a coding sequence of 1,935 base pairs, which is the same as that of the cultivated rice. Coding sequences were generated from four red rice accessions collected from different geographical regions in Arkansas, consisting of accessions that were either resistant or susceptible to imazethapyr. Nucleotide sequence alignments identified six base polymorphisms, three of which resulted in amino acid substitutions in the ALS gene. One amino acid substitution, Gly654Glu, involves a residue required for imazethapyr binding to the ALS. The other substitution, Val669Met, implies conformational changes in the ALS structure that enhances binding of thiamine diphosphate, an ALS cofactor. These novel amino acid substitutions first reported for ALS-resistant red rice accessions support the hypothesis that ALS-resistant red rice can evolve with sustained herbicide selection pressure. Thus, it behooves growers to integrate the Cleafield rice technology with other tools to achieve a successful, long-term weed management program.
Nomenclature: Imazethapyr; red rice, Oryza sativa L.