Multiplex Real-Time PCR detection of pathogen colonization in the bark and wood of Picea sitchensis clones differing in resistance to Heterobasidion annosum

W. J. A. Bodles, C. G. Fossdal, Stephen Woodward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


A quantitative multiplex real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) procedure was developed to assess the extent of Heterobasidion annosum (Fr.) Bref. growth in Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr.) bark and wood and to determine correlations between lesion length and fungal colonization. Based on lesion length and real-time PCR, the responses of four 3-year-old Sitka spruce clones to inoculation with H. annosum were characterized as showing either resistance or susceptibility to the pathogen. In susceptible clones, the extent of bark colonization did not differ from the visible length of the bark lesion, whereas lesions were longer than the extent of fungal colonization in resistant clones. The resistant clones contained considerably less fungal DNA than the susceptible clones, relative to the amount of host DNA in both the bark and the wood, indicating less resistance and more host cell death in the susceptible clones following inoculation. In both resistant and susceptible clones, fungal colonization in the wood extended beyond the visible necrotic lesion in the bark, indicating that host defense responses are weaker in wood than in bark. The spread of the pathogen in both bark and wood was less in the resistant clones than in the susceptible clones, indicating that defenses in both bark and wood of the resistant clones were superior to those in the susceptible clones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)775-782
Number of pages7
JournalTree Physiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006


  • laccase
  • polyubiquitin
  • Sitka spruce clones
  • susceptibility

Cite this