The soil-borne fungus Fusarium virguliforme causes sudden death syndrome (SDS), one of the most devastating diseases of soybean in North and South America. Despite the importance of SDS, a clear understanding of the fungal pathogenicity factors that affect the development of this disease is still lacking. We have identified FvSTR1, a F. virguliforme gene, which encodes a protein similar to a family of striatin proteins previously reported to regulate signalling pathways, cell differentiation, conidiation, sexual development, and virulence in filamentous fungi. Striatins are multi-domain proteins that serve as scaffolding units in the striatin-interacting phosphatase and kinase (STRIPAK) complex in fungi and animals. To address the function of a striatin homologue in F. virguliforme, FvSTR1 was disrupted and functionally characterized using a gene knock out strategy. The resulting Fvstr1 mutants were largely impaired in conidiation and pigmentation, and displayed defective conidia and conidiophore morphology compared to the wild-type and ectopic transformants. Greenhouse virulence assays revealed that the disruption of FvSTR1 resulted in complete loss of virulence in F. virguliforme. Microtome studies using fluorescence microscopy showed that the Fvstr1 mutants were defective in their ability to colonize the vascular system. The Fvstr1 mutants also showed a reduced transcript level of genes involved in asexual reproduction and in the production of secondary metabolites. These results suggest that FvSTR1 has a critical role in asexual development and virulence in F. virguliforme.
Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 22, 2017
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