1887

Abstract

causes wheat ear blight and produces trichothecene toxins in infected grain. In previous studies, trichothecene production in this fungus was disabled by specific disruption of the trichodiene synthase gene () and was restored by two methods: gene reversion and transformation-mediated mutant complementation. In previous field tests of wheat ear blight, trichothecene-nonproducing mutants were less virulent than the wild-type progenitor strain from which they were derived. Trichothecene-producing revertants also were restored to wild-type levels of virulence. In contrast, in the field test of wheat ear blight reported here, trichothecene-producing strains obtained by mutant complementation were not restored to wild-type levels of virulence. The complemented mutants showed a slightly reduced radial growth compared to the wild-type strain, but otherwise appeared normal in morphology, pigmentation and sexual fertility. Genetic analysis indicated that the aberrant virulence of a complemented mutant was likely due to non-target effects that occurred during the process of transforming the trichothecene-nonproducing mutant with . These results confirm previous findings that trichothecenes contribute to the virulence of , but also demonstrate that manipulating this fungus in the laboratory may cause it to undergo subtle changes that reduce its virulence.

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2000-08-01
2020-01-21
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