Understanding the role of the clubroot pathogen kinases in disease progress and resistance

Key Result

This project is still in progress, but it aims to contribute to understanding the clubroot pathogen and to develop new elite canola varieties resistant to P. brassicae with high yield with or without the clubroot pathogen in the field.

Project Summary


Clubroot, caused by the pathogen Plasmodiophora brassicae, is one of the biggest threats for the Canadian canola industry. The use of resistant varieties has been a key disease management strategy to avoid the damages caused by this disease. As genetic resistance to clubroot is breaking down, there is an urgent need to to understand the mechanisms mediating the resistance and to explore alternative sources of disease control.

Based on other mechanisms mediating plant resistance to plant pathogens and our previous results, the research team hypothesizes that the clubroot pathogen kinases could be triggering clubroot resistance and/or tolerance that can be exploited to improve canola elite cultivars.


The main objective of this project is to identify and characterize the role of clubroot pathogen kinases in disease progress and resistance.

More specifically:

  • To characterize clubroot host response to the presence of P. brassicae secreted kinases (PbPKs) in i) Arabidopsis thaliana and ii) Brassica napus
  • To identify the molecular mechanisms behind the phenotypes induced by PbPKs

This work will contribute to the development of new and successful clubroot resistant cultivars and will also expand our knowledge of the clubroot pathogen. It will contribute to P. brassicae management and will empower canola breeders to make informed decisions when new varieties are developed and to canola producers to have access to better clubroot resistance and to have high production with or without the clubroot pathogen in their fields.

Schematic representation of the two objectives investigated in this project.

Potential impact

Although there have been more than 70 clubroot resistance genes or loci reported, the mechanism mediating the resistance, or the identity of these genes is unknown. Unfortunately, the identity of clubroot avirulence factors is also unknown, but results indicate that the clubroot pathogen kinase proteins might be playing a key role on mediating resistance or tolerance to the clubroot pathogen. The proposed research will fill existing gaps in the canola industry and will be essential for canola farmers and the canola industry in the long-term management of the clubroot disease.