ResearchPad - plant-fungal-pathogens https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Mycelial biomass estimation and metabolic quotient of <i>Lentinula edodes</i> using species-specific qPCR]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_15715 Lentinula edodes, commonly known as shiitake, is an edible mushroom that is cultivated and consumed around the globe, especially in Asia. Monitoring mycelial growth inside a woody substrate is difficult, but it is essential for effective management of mushroom cultivation. Mycelial biomass also affects the rate of wood decomposition under natural conditions and must be known to determine the metabolic quotient, an important ecophysiological parameter of fungal growth. Therefore, developing a method to measure it inside a substrate would be very useful. In this study, as the first step in understanding species-specific rates of fungal decomposition of wood, we developed species-specific primers and qPCR procedures for L. edodes. We tested primer specificity using strains of L. edodes from Japan and Southeast Asia, as well as related species of fungi and plant species for cultivation of L. edodes, and generated a calibration curve for quantification of mycelial biomass in wood dust inoculated with L. edodes. The qPCR procedure we developed can specifically detect L. edodes and allowed us to quantify the increase in L. edodes biomass in wood dust substrate and calculate the metabolic quotient based on the mycelial biomass and respiration rate. Development of a species-specific method for biomass quantification will be useful for both estimation of mycelial biomass and determining the kinetics of fungal growth in decomposition processes.

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<![CDATA[Rediscovering an old foe: Optimised molecular methods for DNA extraction and sequencing applications for fungarium specimens of powdery mildew (Erysiphales)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14476 The purpose of this study was to identify a reliable DNA extraction protocol to use on 25-year-old powdery mildew specimens from the reference collection VPRI in order to produce high quality sequences suitable to address taxonomic phylogenetic questions. We tested 13 extraction protocols and two library preparation kits and found the combination of the E.Z.N.A.® Forensic DNA kit for DNA extraction and the NuGen Ovation® Ultralow System library preparation kit was the most suitable for this purpose.

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<![CDATA[Evidence of a trans-kingdom plant disease complex between a fungus and plant-parasitic nematodes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dca20d5eed0c48452a801

Disease prediction tools improve management efforts for many plant diseases. Prediction and downstream prevention demand information about disease etiology, which can be complicated for some diseases, like those caused by soilborne microorganisms. Fortunately, the availability of machine learning methods has enabled researchers to elucidate complex relationships between hosts and pathogens without invoking difficult-to-satisfy assumptions. The etiology of a destructive plant disease, Verticillium wilt of mint, caused by the fungus Verticillium dahliae was reevaluated with several supervised machine learning methods. Specifically, the objective of this research was to identify drivers of wilt in commercial mint fields, describe the relationships between these drivers, and predict wilt. Soil samples were collected from commercial mint fields. Wilt foci, V. dahliae, and plant-parasitic nematodes that can exacerbate wilt were quantified. Multiple linear regression, a generalized additive model, random forest, and an artificial neural network were fit to the data, validated with 10-fold cross-validation, and measures of explanatory and predictive performance were compared. All models selected nematodes within the genus Pratylenchus as the most important predictor of wilt. The fungus after which this disease is named, V. dahliae, was the fourth most important predictor of wilt, after crop age and cultivar. All models explained around 50% of the total variation (R2 ≤ 0.46), and exhibited comparable predictive error (RMSE ≤ 1.21). Collectively, these models revealed that the quantitative relationships between two pathogens, mint cultivars and age are required to explain wilt. The ascendance of Pratylenchus spp. in predicting symptoms of a disease assumed to primarily be caused by V. dahliae exposes the underestimated contribution of these nematodes to wilt. This research provides a foundation on which predictive forecasting tools can be developed for mint growers and reminds us of the lessons that can be learned by revisiting assumptions about disease etiology.

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<![CDATA[Genome-enhanced detection and identification of fungal pathogens responsible for pine and poplar rust diseases]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c648cebd5eed0c484c81ab7

Biosurveillance is a proactive approach that may help to limit the spread of invasive fungal pathogens of trees, such as rust fungi which have caused some of the world’s most damaging diseases of pines and poplars. Most of these fungi have a complex life cycle, with up to five spore stages, which is completed on two different hosts. They have a biotrophic lifestyle and may be propagated by asymptomatic plant material, complicating their detection and identification. A bioinformatics approach, based on whole genome comparison, was used to identify genome regions that are unique to the white pine blister rust fungus, Cronartium ribicola, the poplar leaf rust fungi Melampsora medusae and Melampsora larici-populina or to members of either the Cronartium and Melampsora genera. Species- and genus-specific real-time PCR assays, targeting these unique regions, were designed with the aim of detecting each of these five taxonomic groups. In total, twelve assays were developed and tested over a wide range of samples, including different spore types, different infected plant parts on the pycnio-aecial or uredinio-telial host, and captured insect vectors. One hundred percent detection accuracy was achieved for the three targeted species and two genera with either a single assay or a combination of two assays. This proof of concept experiment on pine and poplar leaf rust fungi demonstrates that the genome-enhanced detection and identification approach can be translated into effective real-time PCR assays to monitor tree fungal pathogens.

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<![CDATA[Blast resistance in Indian rice landraces: Genetic dissection by gene specific markers]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5217bdd5eed0c4847944c5

Understanding of genetic diversity is important to explore existing gene in any crop breeding program. Most of the diversity preserved in the landraces which are well–known reservoirs of important traits for biotic and abiotic stresses. In the present study, the genetic diversity at twenty-four most significant blast resistance gene loci using twenty-eight gene specific markers were investigated in landraces originated from nine diverse rice ecologies of India. Based on phenotypic evaluation, landraces were classified into three distinct groups: highly resistant (21), moderately resistant (70) and susceptible (70). The landraces harbour a range of five to nineteen genes representing blast resistance allele with the frequency varied from 4.96% to 100%. The cluster analysis grouped entire 161 landraces into two major groups. Population structure along with other parameters was also analyzed to understand the evolution of blast resistance gene in rice. The population structure analysis and principal coordinate analysis classified the landraces into two sub–populations. Analysis of molecular variance showed maximum (93%) diversity within the population and least (7%) between populations. Five markers viz; K3957, Pikh, Pi2–i, RM212and RM302 were strongly associated with blast disease with the phenotypic variance of 1.4% to 7.6%. These resistant landraces will serve as a valuable genetic resource for future genomic studies, host–pathogen interaction, identification of novel R genes and rice improvement strategies.

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<![CDATA[Identification of barley powdery mildew resistances in gene bank accessions and the use of gene diversity for verifying seed purity and authenticity]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c141ec3d5eed0c484d2821a

Human activities including those in crop gene banks are subject to errors, especially during seed multiplication and maintenance of seed germination. Therefore, the most serious problem of gene banks is authenticity of the accessions and their genotypic purity. There are many methods for determining the identity of varieties, but comparisons between current data and past records are not easy since the latter are often missing. Breeding barley resistant to powdery mildew caused by Blumeria graminis f. sp. hordei (Bgh) was traditionally based on incorporating major genes into new varieties and the results have been published. Our goal was to identify resistance genes to powdery mildew in accessions of the Czech spring barley core collection and compare these data with earlier information to establish the authenticity of the accessions. Two hundred and twenty-three accessions of the collection including 665 single plant progenies were tested. Sixty-four selected reference isolates of Bgh representing the world diversity of the pathogen were used for resistance tests. Twenty-two known resistance genes were postulated either separately or in combinations. In the collection, 151 homogeneous accessions were found, but the resistances of nine of them were inconsistent with published data and in 12 accessions their authenticity is doubtful. The remaining 72 accessions were heterogeneous and comprised 176 resistance genotypes, 54 of which were probably mechanical admixtures of other varieties. There are several pathogens of cereals, e.g. rusts and mildews, against which many resistance genes in host crops have also been exploited. Knowledge of these resistances can assist in maintaining pure and genuine stocks in gene banks. Seed purity and the authenticity of accessions can subsequently be checked with more advanced methods.

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<![CDATA[Molecular Cytogenetic Characterization of New Wheat-Rye 1R(1B) Substitution and Translocation Lines from a Chinese Secale cereal L. Aigan with Resistance to Stripe Rust]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dadfab0ee8fa60bbb434

Secale cereale L. has been used worldwide as a source of genes for agronomic and resistance improvement. In this study, a stable wheat-rye substitution line and 3 primary 1RS.1BL translocation lines were selected from the progeny of the crossing of the Chinese local rye Aigan variety and wheat cultivar Mianyang11. The substitution and translocation lines were identified by molecular cytogenetic analysis. PCR results, fluorescence in situ hybridization and acid polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis indicated that there were a pair of 1R chromosomes in the substitution line which have been named RS1200-3, and a pair of 1RS.1BL translocation chromosomes in the other 3 translocation lines, which have been named RT1163-4, RT1217-1, and RT1249. When inoculated with stripe rust isolates, these 4 lines expressed high resistance to several Puccinia striiformis f. sp Tritici pathotypes that are virulent on Yr9. Moreover, the different response pattern of resistance among them suggested that the diversity of resistance genes for wheat stripe rust exists in the rye. These 4 lines also showed better agronomic performances than their wheat parent. The GS indices also showed the genetic diversity of the 1RS which derived from same rye variety. The present study indicates that rye cultivars may carry untapped variations that could potentially be used for wheat improvement.

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<![CDATA[Long-Distance Wind-Dispersal of Spores in a Fungal Plant Pathogen: Estimation of Anisotropic Dispersal Kernels from an Extensive Field Experiment]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db29ab0ee8fa60bd0dda

Given its biological significance, determining the dispersal kernel (i.e., the distribution of dispersal distances) of spore-producing pathogens is essential. Here, we report two field experiments designed to measure disease gradients caused by sexually- and asexually-produced spores of the wind-dispersed banana plant fungus Mycosphaerella fijiensis. Gradients were measured during a single generation and over 272 traps installed up to 1000 m along eight directions radiating from a traceable source of inoculum composed of fungicide-resistant strains. We adjusted several kernels differing in the shape of their tail and tested for two types of anisotropy. Contrasting dispersal kernels were observed between the two types of spores. For sexual spores (ascospores), we characterized both a steep gradient in the first few metres in all directions and rare long-distance dispersal (LDD) events up to 1000 m from the source in two directions. A heavy-tailed kernel best fitted the disease gradient. Although ascospores distributed evenly in all directions, average dispersal distance was greater in two different directions without obvious correlation with wind patterns. For asexual spores (conidia), few dispersal events occurred outside of the source plot. A gradient up to 12.5 m from the source was observed in one direction only. Accordingly, a thin-tailed kernel best fitted the disease gradient, and anisotropy in both density and distance was correlated with averaged daily wind gust. We discuss the validity of our results as well as their implications in terms of disease diffusion and management strategy.

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<![CDATA[The Evolution of Fungicide Resistance Resulting from Combinations of Foliar-Acting Systemic Seed Treatments and Foliar-Applied Fungicides: A Modeling Analysis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db1bab0ee8fa60bce17c

For the treatment of foliar diseases of cereals, fungicides may be applied as foliar sprays or systemic seed treatments which are translocated to leaves. Little research has been done to assess the resistance risks associated with foliar-acting systemic seed treatments when used alone or in combination with foliar sprays, even though both types of treatment may share the same mode of action. It is therefore unknown to what extent adding a systemic seed treatment to a foliar spray programme poses an additional resistance risk and whether in the presence of a seed treatment additional resistance management strategies (such as limiting the total number of treatments) are necessary to limit the evolution of fungicide-resistance. A mathematical model was developed to simulate an epidemic and the resistance evolution of Zymoseptoria tritici on winter wheat, which was used to compare different combinations of seed and foliar treatments by calculating the fungicide effective life, i.e. the number of years before effective disease control is lost to resistance. A range of parameterizations for the seed treatment fungicide and different fungicide uptake models were compared. Despite the different parameterizations, the model consistently predicted the same trends in that i) similar levels of efficacy delivered either by a foliar-acting seed treatment, or a foliar application, resulted in broadly similar resistance selection, ii) adding a foliar-acting seed treatment to a foliar spray programme increased resistance selection and usually decreased effective life, and iii) splitting a given total dose—by adding a seed treatment to foliar treatments, but decreasing dose per treatment—gave effective lives that were the same as, or shorter than those given by the spray programme alone. For our chosen plant-pathogen-fungicide system, the model results suggest that to effectively manage selection for fungicide-resistance, foliar acting systemic seed treatments should be included as one of the maximum number of permitted fungicide applications.

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<![CDATA[Validation of Reference Genes for Robust qRT-PCR Gene Expression Analysis in the Rice Blast Fungus Magnaporthe oryzae]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da35ab0ee8fa60b85f6d

The rice blast fungus causes significant annual harvest losses. It also serves as a genetically-tractable model to study fungal ingress. Whilst pathogenicity determinants have been unmasked and changes in global gene expression described, we know little about Magnaporthe oryzae cell wall remodelling. Our interests, in wall remodelling genes expressed during infection, vegetative growth and under exogenous wall stress, demand robust choice of reference genes for quantitative Real Time-PCR (qRT-PCR) data normalisation. We describe the expression stability of nine candidate reference genes profiled by qRT-PCR with cDNAs derived during asexual germling development, from sexual stage perithecia and from vegetative mycelium grown under various exogenous stressors. Our Minimum Information for Publication of qRT-PCR Experiments (MIQE) compliant analysis reveals a set of robust reference genes used to track changes in the expression of the cell wall remodelling gene MGG_Crh2 (MGG_00592). We ranked nine candidate reference genes by their expression stability (M) and report the best gene combination needed for reliable gene expression normalisation, when assayed in three tissue groups (Infective, Vegetative, and Global) frequently used in M. oryzae expression studies. We found that MGG_Actin (MGG_03982) and the 40S 27a ribosomal subunit MGG_40s (MGG_02872) proved to be robust reference genes for the Infection group and MGG_40s and MGG_Ef1 (Elongation Factor1-α) for both Vegetative and Global groups. Using the above validated reference genes, M. oryzae MGG_Crh2 expression was found to be significantly (p<0.05) elevated three-fold during vegetative growth as compared with dormant spores and two fold higher under cell wall stress (Congo Red) compared to growth under optimal conditions. We recommend the combinatorial use of two reference genes, belonging to the cytoskeleton and ribosomal synthesis functional groups, MGG_Actin, MGG_40s, MGG_S8 (Ribosomal subunit 40S S8) or MGG_Ef1, which demonstrated low M values across heterogeneous tissues. By contrast, metabolic pathway genes MGG_Fad (FAD binding domain-containing protein) and MGG_Gapdh (Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase) performed poorly, due to their lack of expression stability across samples.

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<![CDATA[The E3 Ligase APIP10 Connects the Effector AvrPiz-t to the NLR Receptor Piz-t in Rice]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da45ab0ee8fa60b8b806

Although nucleotide-binding domain, leucine-rich repeat (NLR) proteins are the major immune receptors in plants, the mechanism that controls their activation and immune signaling remains elusive. Here, we report that the avirulence effector AvrPiz-t from Magnaporthe oryzae targets the rice E3 ligase APIP10 for degradation, but that APIP10, in return, ubiquitinates AvrPiz-t and thereby causes its degradation. Silencing of APIP10 in the non-Piz-t background compromises the basal defense against M. oryzae. Conversely, silencing of APIP10 in the Piz-t background causes cell death, significant accumulation of Piz-t, and enhanced resistance to M. oryzae, suggesting that APIP10 is a negative regulator of Piz-t. We show that APIP10 promotes degradation of Piz-t via the 26S proteasome system. Furthermore, we demonstrate that AvrPiz-t stabilizes Piz-t during M. oryzae infection. Together, our results show that APIP10 is a novel E3 ligase that functionally connects the fungal effector AvrPiz-t to its NLR receptor Piz-t in rice.

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<![CDATA[Characterization of Five Novel Mitoviruses in the White Pine Blister Rust Fungus Cronartium ribicola]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9e5ab0ee8fa60b6aec6

The white pine blister rust (WPBR) fungus Cronartium ribicola (J.C. Fisch.) is an exotic invasive forest pathogen causing severe stem canker disease of native white pine trees (subgenus Strobus) in North America. The present study reports discovery of five novel mitoviruses in C. ribicola by deep RNA sequencing. The complete genome of each mitovirus was determined by rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). A single open reading frame (ORF) encoding a putative RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) was detected in each of the viral genomes using mitochondrial genetic codes. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that the C. ribicola mitoviruses (CrMV1 to CrMV5) are new putative species of the genus Mitovirus. qRT-PCR and RNA-Seq analyses revealed that viral RNAs were significantly increased in fungal mycelia in cankered pine stems compared to expression during two different stages of spore development, suggesting that viral genome replication and transcription benefit from active growth of the host fungus. CrMVs were widespread with relatively high levels of minor allele frequency (MAF) in western North America. As the first report of mitoviruses in the Class Pucciniomycetes, this work allows further investigation of the dynamics of a viral community in the WPBR pathosystem, including potential impacts that may affect pathogenicity and virulence of the host fungus.

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<![CDATA[Deciphering the Molecular Variations of Pine Wood Nematode Bursaphelenchus xylophilus with Different Virulence]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da7fab0ee8fa60b9a04e

Bursaphelenchus xylophilus is the causative agent of pine wilt disease which has caused huge economic losses in many countries. It has been reported that two forms of pine wood nematodes existed in its native region, i.e., with strong virulence and weak virulence. However, little is known about the molecular differences between the two forms. To better understand their molecular variations, transcriptome and genome sequences of three strongly virulent and one weakly virulent strains were analyzed. We found 238 transcripts and 84 exons which showed notable changes between the two virulent forms. Functional analyses of both differentially expressed transcripts and exons indicated that different virulence strains showed dissimilar nematode growth, reproduction, and oxidoreductase activities. In addition, we also detected a small number of exon-skipping events in B. xylophilus. Meanwhile, 117 SNPs were identified as potential genetic markers in distinguishing the two forms. Four of them were further proved to have undergone allele specific expressions and possibly interrupted the target site of evolutionary conserved B. xylophilus miR-47. These particular SNPs were experimentally verified by including eight additional strains to ensure the validity of our sequencing results. These results could help researchers to better diagnose nematode species with different virulence and facilitate the control of pine wilt disease.

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<![CDATA[Economic and Environmental Impact of Rice Blast Pathogen (Magnaporthe oryzae) Alleviation in the United States]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daf8ab0ee8fa60bc3c68

Rice blast (Magnaporthe oryzae) is a key concern in combating global food insecurity given the disease is responsible for approximately 30% of rice production losses globally—the equivalent of feeding 60 million people. These losses increase the global rice price and reduce consumer welfare and food security. Rice is the staple crop for more than half the world’s population so any reduction in rice blast would have substantial beneficial effects on consumer livelihoods. In 2012, researchers in the US began analyzing the feasibility of creating blast-resistant rice through cisgenic breeding. Correspondingly, our study evaluates the changes in producer, consumer, and environmental welfare, if all the rice produced in the Mid-South of the US were blast resistant through a process like cisgenics, using both international trade and environmental assessment modeling. Our results show that US rice producers would gain 69.34 million dollars annually and increase the rice supply to feed an additional one million consumers globally by eliminating blast from production in the Mid-South. These results suggest that blast alleviation could be even more significant in increasing global food security given that the US is a small rice producer by global standards and likely experiences lower losses from blast than other rice-producing countries because of its ongoing investment in production technology and management. Furthermore, results from our detailed life cycle assessment (LCA) show that producing blast-resistant rice has lower environmental (fossil fuel depletion, ecotoxicity, carcinogenics, eutrophication, acidification, global warming potential, and ozone depletion) impacts per unit of rice than non-blast resistant rice production. Our findings suggest that any reduction in blast via breeding will have significantly positive impacts on reducing global food insecurity through increased supply, as well as decreased price and environmental impacts in production.

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<![CDATA[Increased Resistance to Biotrophic Pathogens in the Arabidopsis Constitutive Induced Resistance 1 Mutant Is EDS1 and PAD4-Dependent and Modulated by Environmental Temperature]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daa6ab0ee8fa60ba7a42

The Arabidopsis constitutive induced resistance 1 (cir1) mutant displays salicylic acid (SA)-dependent constitutive expression of defence genes and enhanced resistance to biotrophic pathogens. To further characterise the role of CIR1 in plant immunity we conducted epistasis analyses with two key components of the SA-signalling branch of the defence network, ENHANCED DISEASE SUSCEPTIBILITY1 (EDS1) and PHYTOALEXIN DEFICIENT4 (PAD4). We demonstrate that the constitutive defence phenotypes of cir1 require both EDS1 and PAD4, indicating that CIR1 lies upstream of the EDS1-PAD4 regulatory node in the immune signalling network. In light of this finding we examined EDS1 expression in cir1 and observed increased protein, but not mRNA levels in this mutant, suggesting that CIR1 might act as a negative regulator of EDS1 via a post-transcriptional mechanism. Finally, as environmental temperature is known to influence the outcome of plant-pathogen interactions, we analysed cir1 plants grown at 18, 22 or 25°C. We found that susceptibility to Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato (Pst) DC3000 is modulated by temperature in cir1. Greatest resistance to this pathogen (relative to PR-1:LUC control plants) was observed at 18°C, while at 25°C no difference in susceptibility between cir1 and control plants was apparent. The increase in resistance to Pst DC3000 at 18°C correlated with a stunted growth phenotype, suggesting that activation of defence responses may be enhanced at lower temperatures in the cir1 mutant.

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<![CDATA[The WOPR Protein Ros1 Is a Master Regulator of Sporogenesis and Late Effector Gene Expression in the Maize Pathogen Ustilago maydis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dad8ab0ee8fa60bb8bda

The biotrophic basidiomycete fungus Ustilago maydis causes smut disease in maize. Hallmarks of the disease are large tumors that develop on all aerial parts of the host in which dark pigmented teliospores are formed. We have identified a member of the WOPR family of transcription factors, Ros1, as major regulator of spore formation in U. maydis. ros1 expression is induced only late during infection and hence Ros1 is neither involved in plant colonization of dikaryotic fungal hyphae nor in plant tumor formation. However, during late stages of infection Ros1 is essential for fungal karyogamy, massive proliferation of diploid fungal cells and spore formation. Premature expression of ros1 revealed that Ros1 counteracts the b-dependent filamentation program and induces morphological alterations resembling the early steps of sporogenesis. Transcriptional profiling and ChIP-seq analyses uncovered that Ros1 remodels expression of about 30% of all U. maydis genes with 40% of these being direct targets. In total the expression of 80 transcription factor genes is controlled by Ros1. Four of the upregulated transcription factor genes were deleted and two of the mutants were affected in spore development. A large number of b-dependent genes were differentially regulated by Ros1, suggesting substantial changes in this regulatory cascade that controls filamentation and pathogenic development. Interestingly, 128 genes encoding secreted effectors involved in the establishment of biotrophic development were downregulated by Ros1 while a set of 70 “late effectors” was upregulated. These results indicate that Ros1 is a master regulator of late development in U. maydis and show that the biotrophic interaction during sporogenesis involves a drastic shift in expression of the fungal effectome including the downregulation of effectors that are essential during early stages of infection.

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<![CDATA[The Fusarium graminearum Genome Reveals More Secondary Metabolite Gene Clusters and Hints of Horizontal Gene Transfer]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db18ab0ee8fa60bcd8f6

Fungal secondary metabolite biosynthesis genes are of major interest due to the pharmacological properties of their products (like mycotoxins and antibiotics). The genome of the plant pathogenic fungus Fusarium graminearum codes for a large number of candidate enzymes involved in secondary metabolite biosynthesis. However, the chemical nature of most enzymatic products of proteins encoded by putative secondary metabolism biosynthetic genes is largely unknown. Based on our analysis we present 67 gene clusters with significant enrichment of predicted secondary metabolism related enzymatic functions. 20 gene clusters with unknown metabolites exhibit strong gene expression correlation in planta and presumably play a role in virulence. Furthermore, the identification of conserved and over-represented putative transcription factor binding sites serves as additional evidence for cluster co-regulation. Orthologous cluster search provided insight into the evolution of secondary metabolism clusters. Some clusters are characteristic for the Fusarium phylum while others show evidence of horizontal gene transfer as orthologs can be found in representatives of the Botrytis or Cochliobolus lineage. The presented candidate clusters provide valuable targets for experimental examination.

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<![CDATA[Polygalacturonase gene pgxB in Aspergillus niger is a virulence factor in apple fruit]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db50ab0ee8fa60bdbd5b

Aspergillus niger, a saprophytic fungus, is widely distributed in soil, air and cereals, and can cause postharvest diseases in fruit. Polygalacturonase (PG) is one of the main enzymes in fungal pathogens to degrade plant cell wall. To evaluate whether the deletion of an exo-polygalacturonase gene pgxB would influence fungal pathogenicity to fruit, pgxB gene was deleted in Aspergillus niger MA 70.15 (wild type) via homologous recombination. The ΔpgxB mutant showed similar growth behavior compared with the wild type. Pectin medium induced significant higher expression of all pectinase genes in both wild type and ΔpgxB in comparison to potato dextrose agar medium. However, the ΔpgxB mutant was less virulent on apple fruits as the necrosis diameter caused by ΔpgxB mutant was significantly smaller than that of wild type. Results of quantitive-PCR showed that, in the process of infection in apple fruit, gene expressions of polygalacturonase genes pgaI, pgaII, pgaA, pgaC, pgaD and pgaE were enhanced in ΔpgxB mutant in comparison to wild type. These results prove that, despite the increased gene expression of other polygalacturonase genes in ΔpgxB mutant, the lack of pgxB gene significantly reduced the virulence of A. niger on apple fruit, suggesting that pgxB plays an important role in the infection process on the apple fruit.

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<![CDATA[Identification and evaluation of resistance to powdery mildew and yellow rust in a wheat mapping population]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5cab0ee8fa60bdff86

Deployment of cultivars with genetic resistance is an effective approach to control the diseases of powdery mildew (PM) and yellow rust (YR). Chinese wheat cultivar XK0106 exhibits high levels of resistance to both diseases, while cultivar E07901 has partial, adult plant resistance (APR). The aim of this study was to map resistance loci derived from the two cultivars and analyze their effects against PM and YR in a range of environments. A doubled haploid population (388 lines) was used to develop a framework map consisting of 117 SSR markers, while a much higher density map using the 90K Illumina iSelect SNP array was produced with a subset of 80 randomly selected lines. Seedling resistance was characterized against a range of PM and YR isolates, while field scores in multiple environments were used to characterize APR. Composite interval mapping (CIM) of seedling PM scores identified two QTLs (QPm.haas-6A and QPm.haas-2A), the former being located at the Pm21 locus. These QTLs were also significant in field scores, as were Qpm.haas-3A and QPm.haas-5A. QYr.haas-1B-1 and QYr.haas-2A were identified in field scores of YR and were located at the Yr24/26 and Yr17 chromosomal regions respectively. A second 1B QTL, QYr.haas-1B-2 was also identified. QPm.haas-2A and QYr.haas-1B-2 are likely to be new QTLs that have not been previously identified. Effects of the QTLs were further investigated in multiple environments through the testing of selected lines predicted to contain various QTL combinations. Significant additive interactions between the PM QTLs highlighted the ability to pyramid these loci to provide higher level of resistance. Interactions between the YR QTLs gave insights into the pathogen populations in the different locations as well as showing genetic interactions between these loci.

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<![CDATA[Use of the Endophytic Fungus Daldinia cf. concentrica and Its Volatiles as Bio-Control Agents]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da0eab0ee8fa60b78850

Endophytic fungi are organisms that spend most of their life cycle within plant tissues without causing any visible damage to the host plant. Many endophytes were found to secrete specialized metabolites and/or emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which may be biologically active and assist fungal survival inside the plant as well as benefit their hosts. We report on the isolation and characterization of a VOCs-emitting endophytic fungus, isolated from an olive tree (Olea europaea L.) growing in Israel; the isolate was identified as Daldinia cf. concentrica. We found that the emitted VOCs were active against various fungi from diverse phyla. Results from postharvest experiments demonstrated that D. cf. concentrica prevented development of molds on organic dried fruits, and eliminated Aspergillus niger infection in peanuts. Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry analysis of the volatiles led to identification of 27 VOCs. On the basis of these VOCs we prepared two mixtures that displayed a broad spectrum of antifungal activity. In postharvest experiments these mixtures prevented development of molds on wheat grains, and fully eliminated A. niger infection in peanuts. In light of these findings, we suggest use of D. cf. concentrica and/or its volatiles as an alternative approach to controlling phytopathogenic fungi in the food industry and in agriculture.

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