Homologs of barley Mlo are found in syntenic positions in all three genomes of hexaploid bread wheat, Triticum aestivum, and in rice, Oryza sativa. Candidate wheat orthologs, designated TaMlo-A1, TaMlo-B1, and TaMlo-D1, encode three distinct but highly related proteins that are 88% identical to barley MLO and appear to originate from the three diploid ancestral genomes of wheat. TaMlo-B1 and the rice ortholog, OsMlo2, are able to complement powdery mildew-resistant barley mlo mutants at the single-cell level. Overexpression of TaMlo-B1 or barley Mlo leads to super-susceptibility to the appropriate powdery mildew formae speciales in both wild-type barley and wheat. Surprisingly, overexpression of either Mlo or TaMlo-B1 also mediates enhanced fungal development to tested inappropriate formae speciales. These results underline a regulatory role for MLO and its wheat and rice orthologs in a basal defense mechanism that can interfere with forma specialis resistance to powdery mildews.