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Plant Sci. 2012 Apr;185-186:227-37. doi: 10.1016/j.plantsci.2011.10.017. Epub 2011 Oct 25.

Characterization of a cassiicolin-encoding gene from Corynespora cassiicola, pathogen of rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis).

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  • 1CIRAD, UMR AGAP, F-63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France.


Corynespora Leaf Fall (CLF) is a major disease of rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) caused by the Ascomycota Corynespora cassiicola. Here we describe the cloning and characterization of a gene encoding cassiicolin (Cas), a glycosylated cystein-rich small secreted protein (SSP) identified as a potential CLF disease effector in rubber tree. Three isolates with contrasted levels of aggressiveness were analyzed comparatively. The cassiicolin gene was detected - and the toxin successfully purified - from the isolates with high and medium aggressiveness (CCP and CCAM3 respectively) but not from the isolate with the lowest aggressiveness (CCAM1), suggesting the existence of a different disease effector in the later. CCP and CCAM3 carried strictly identical cassiicolin genes and produced toxins of identical mass, as evidence by mass spectrometry analysis, thus suggesting conserved post-translational modifications in addition to sequence identity. The differences in aggressiveness between CCP and CCAM3 may be attributed to differences in cassiicolin transcript levels rather than qualitative variations in cassiicolin structure. Cassiicolin may play an important role in the early phase of infection since a peak of cassiicolin transcripts occurred in 1 or 2 days after inoculation (before the occurrence of the first symptoms), in both the tolerant and the susceptible cultivars.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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