The Cell Wall Integrity-Associated Map Kinase Homolog, AbSlt2 in the Necrotrophic fungus Alternaria brassicicola is Required for Pathogenicity of Brassicas
Scott, Derrick Cornelius
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Using the genome database of the phytopathogenic fungus, Alternaria brassicicola, we identified a gene with high homology to the cell wall integrity-associated mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase, Slt2 in the yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This MAP kinase consists of a predicted 1,251-bp open reading frame, and encodes a 416-amino-acid protein weighing 47501 Da. This homolog was designated AbSlt2 (A. brassicicola Slt2) and gene disruption knockout (KO) mutants were generated in an A. brassicicola wild type background. Several altered phenotypes were found in the mutants compared to the wild type. During growth in various liquid and solid media, the abslt2 mutants displayed slightly aberrant hyphal growth and were unable to develop at the same rate as wild type. Furthermore, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis revealed the abslt2 mutants showed decreased penetration ability, underdeveloped appresoria, and altered morphology on the leaf surface of the host plant, Brassica oleracea (cabbage) when compared to wild type. Abslt2 mutant hyphae exhibited slower growth in planta ultimately resulting in highly reduced virulence. Complementation of the disruption mutant with the wild type gene fully restored pathogenicity. Therefore, AbSlt2 is a new pathogenicity and developmental factor in A. brassicicola.
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