Histopathology of infection and colonization of susceptible and resistant Port-Orford-cedar by Phytophthora lateralis.
Port-Orford-cedar (POC; Chamaecyparis lawsoniana) root disease, caused by Phytophthora lateralis, continues to kill POC in landscape plantings and natural forests in western North America. POC trees resistant to P. lateralis have been identified and propagated. Cytological observations of P. lateralis in susceptible and resistant roots and stems were made with light and transmission electron microscopy to identify resistance mechanisms. No differences in infection pathway and initial colonization were observed between susceptible and resistant roots, although there were differences in the rate and extent of development. Germ tubes formed appressoria, and penetration hyphae grew either between or directly through epidermal cell walls; inter- and intracellular hyphae colonized the root cortex. In susceptible roots, hyphae penetrated into the vascular system within 48 h of inoculation. In contrast, hyphae in roots of resistant seedlings grew more slowly in cortical cells and were not observed to penetrate to the vascular tissues. In resistant roots, infection was marked by general thickening of cortical cell walls, wall appositions around penetrating hyphae, collapse of cortical cells, and accumulation of osmiophilic granules around hyphae. In susceptible stems, hyphae grew inter- and intracellularly in all cells of the secondary phloem except fiber cells, but were concentrated in sieve and parenchyma cells in the functional phloem. The pattern of penetration and colonization of hyphae was similar in the resistant stems, except that hyphae were found in the fiber cells of the xylem. In resistant stems, there were fewer hyphae in the functional phloem, and cytological changes such as damaged nuclei and disintegrated cytoplasm were evident. Structural changes in resistant stems included collapsed cells, wall thickening, secretory bodies, apposition of electron dense materials, and crystals in cell walls.