1887

Abstract

Verticillium dahliae is a soilborne fungus that causes vascular wilt diseases on numerous plant species worldwide. The production of darkly melanized microsclerotia is crucial in the disease cycle of V. dahliae, as these structures allow for long-term survival in soil. Previously, transcriptomic and genomic analysis identified a cluster of genes in V. dahliae that encodes some dihydroxynaphthalene (DHN) melanin biosynthetic pathway homologues found in related fungi. In this study, we explored the roles of cluster-specific transcription factor VdCmr1, as well as two other genes within the cluster encoding a polyketide synthase (VdPKS1) and a laccase (VdLac1), enzymes at initial and endpoint steps in DHN melanin production. The results revealed that VdCmr1 and VdPKS1 are required for melanin production, but neither is required for microsclerotia production. None of the three genes were required for pathogenesis on tobacco and lettuce. Exposure of ΔVdCmr1 and wild-type strains to UV irradiation, or to high temperature (40 °C), revealed an approx. 50 % reduction of survival in the ΔVdCmr1 strain, relative to the wild-type strain, in response to either condition. Expression profiles revealed that expression of some melanin biosynthetic genes are in part dependent on VdCmr1. Combined data indicate VdCmr1 is a key regulator of melanin biosynthesis, and that via regulation of melanogenesis, VdCmr1 affects survival of V. dahliae in response to abiotic threats. We conclude with a model showing regulation of VdCmr1 by a high osmolarity glycerol response (Hog)-type MAP kinase pathway.

Keyword(s): DHN , fungi , melanin , pathogenicity , pigment and regulation
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2018-02-27
2019-10-17
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