Genome-wide functional analysis reveals that autophagy is necessary for growth, sporulation, deoxynivalenol production and virulence in Fusarium graminearum

Wuyun Lv, Chunyan Wang, Nan Yang, Yawei Que, Nicholas J. Talbot, Zhengyi Wang

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Abstract

Autophagy is a conserved cellular recycling and trafficking pathway in eukaryotic cells and has been reported to be important in the virulence of a number of microbial pathogens. Here, we report genome-wide identification and characterization of autophagy-related genes (ATGs) in the wheat pathogenic fungus Fusarium graminearum. We identified twenty-eight genes associated with the regulation and operation of autophagy in F. graminearum. Using targeted gene deletion, we generated a set of 28 isogenic mutants. Autophagy mutants were classified into two groups by differences in their growth patterns. Radial growth of 18 Group 1 ATG mutants was significantly reduced compared to the wild-type strain PH-1, while 10 Group 2 mutants grew normally. Loss of any of the ATG genes, except FgATG17, prevented the fungus from causing Fusarium head blight disease. Moreover, subsets of autophagy genes were necessary for asexual/sexual differentiation and deoxynivalenol (DON) production, respectively. FgATG1 and FgATG5 were investigated in detail and showed severe defects in autophagy. Taken together, we conclude that autophagy plays a critical role in growth, asexual/sexual sporulation, deoxynivalenol production and virulence in F. graminearum.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11062
Number of pages12
JournalScientific Reports
Volume7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sep 2017

Keywords

  • MOLECULAR-MECHANISMS
  • MAGNAPORTHE-ORYZAE
  • VEGETATIVE GROWTH
  • ASPERGILLUS-ORYZAE
  • GIBBERELLA-ZEAE
  • SELF-DIGESTION
  • HEAD BLIGHT
  • CELL-DEATH
  • YEAST
  • KINASE

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