Pathogen-derived cytokinins (CKs) have been recognized as important virulence factor in several host–pathogen interac- tions and it was demonstrated multiple times that phytopathogenic fungi form CKs via the tRNA degradation pathway. In contrast to previous studies, the focus of this study is on the second step of CK formation and CK degradation to improve our understanding of the biosynthesis in fungi on the one hand, and to understand CK contribution to the infection process of Claviceps purpurea on the other hand. The ergot fungus Claviceps purpurea is a biotrophic phytopathogen with a broad host range including economically important crops causing harvest intoxication upon infection. Its infection process is restricted to unfertilized ovaries without causing macroscopic defense symptoms. Thus, sophisticated host manipulation strategies are implicated. The cytokinin (CK) plant hormones are known to regulate diverse plant cell processes, and several plant pathogens alter CK levels during infection. C. purpurea synthesizes CKs via two mechanisms, and fungus-derived CKs influence the host–pathogen interaction but not fungus itself. CK deficiency in fungi with impact on virulence has only been achieved to date by deletion of a tRNA-ipt gene that is also involved in a process of translation regulation. To obtain a better understanding
Current Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: May 30, 2018
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