Molecular Basis of Imidazolinone Herbicide Resistance in Arabidopsis thaliana var Columbia

Plant Physiol. 1991 Nov;97(3):1044-50. doi: 10.1104/pp.97.3.1044.


Acetolactate synthase (ALS), the first enzyme in the biosynthetic pathway of leucine, isoleucine, and valine, is inhibited by imidazolinone herbicides. To understand the molecular basis of imidazolinone resistance, we isolated the ALS gene from an imazapyr-resistant mutant GH90 of Arabidopsis thaliana. DNA sequence analysis of the mutant ALS gene demonstrated a single-point mutation from G to A at nucleotide 1958 of the ALS-coding sequence. This would result in Ser to Asn substitution at residue 653 near the carboxyl terminal of the matured ALS. The mutant ALS gene was introduced into tobacco using Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. Imidazolinone-resistant growth of transformed calli and leaves of transgenic plants was 100-fold greater than that of nontransformed control plants. The relative levels of imidazolinone-resistant ALS activity correlated with the amount of herbicide-resistant growth in the leaves of transgenic plants. Southern hybridization analysis confirmed the existence of transferred ALS gene in the transformant showing high imazapyr resistance. The results demonstrate that the mutant ALS gene confers resistance to imidazolinone herbicides. This is the first report, to our knowledge, of the molecular basis of imidazolinone resistance in plants.