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Plants 2014, 3(4), 594-612; doi:10.3390/plants3040594

Pistil Smut Infection Increases Ovary Production, Seed Yield Components, and Pseudosexual Reproductive Allocation in Buffalograss

1,†
and
2,†,*
1
Texas AgriLife Research, Texas A&M System, 17360 Coit Road, Dallas, TX 75252, USA
2
Department of Plant Science, The Pennsylvania State University, 116 ASI Bldg., University Park, PA 16802, USA
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 July 2014 / Revised: 14 November 2014 / Accepted: 19 November 2014 / Published: 1 December 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Reproductive Transition and Flower Development)
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Abstract

Sex expression of dioecious buffalograss [Bouteloua dactyloides Columbus (syn. Buchloë dactyloides (Nutt.) Engelm.)] is known to be environmentally stable with approximate 1:1, male to female, sex ratios. Here we show that infection by the pistil smut fungus [Salmacisia buchloëana Huff & Chandra (syn. Tilletia buchloëana Kellerman and Swingle)] shifts sex ratios of buffalograss to be nearly 100% phenotypically hermaphroditic. In addition, pistil smut infection decreased vegetative reproductive allocation, increased most seed yield components, and increased pseudosexual reproductive allocation in both sex forms compared to uninfected clones. In female sex forms, pistil smut infection resulted in a 26 fold increase in ovary production and a 35 fold increase in potential harvest index. In male sex forms, pistil smut infection resulted in 2.37 fold increase in floret number and over 95% of these florets contained a well-developed pistil. Although all ovaries of infected plants are filled with fungal teliospores and hence reproductively sterile, an average male-female pair of infected plants exhibited an 87 fold increase in potential harvest index compared to their uninfected clones. Acquiring an ability to mimic the effects of pistil smut infection would enhance our understanding of the flowering process in grasses and our efforts to increase seed yield of buffalograss and perhaps other grasses. View Full-Text
Keywords: Salmacisia; Buchloë; parasitic castration; induced hermaphroditism; sexual reproductive allocation; vegetative reproductive allocation; harvest index Salmacisia; Buchloë; parasitic castration; induced hermaphroditism; sexual reproductive allocation; vegetative reproductive allocation; harvest index
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Chandra, A.; Huff, D.R. Pistil Smut Infection Increases Ovary Production, Seed Yield Components, and Pseudosexual Reproductive Allocation in Buffalograss. Plants 2014, 3, 594-612.

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