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Mol Microbiol. 2002 Oct;46(2):305-18.

CPMK2, an SLT2-homologous mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase, is essential for pathogenesis of Claviceps purpurea on rye: evidence for a second conserved pathogenesis-related MAP kinase cascade in phytopathogenic fungi.

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1
Institut für Botanik Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster, Germany.

Abstract

Cpmk2, encoding a mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase from the ascomycete Claviceps purpurea, is an orthologue of SLT2 from Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the first isolated from a biotrophic, non-appressorium-forming pathogen. Deletion mutants obtained by a gene replacement approach show impaired vegetative properties (no conidiation) and a significantly reduced virulence, although they retain a limited ability to colonize the host tissue. Increased sensitivity to protoplasting enzymes indicates that the cell wall structure of the mutants may be altered. As the phenotypes of these mutants are similar to those observed in strains of the rice pathogen, Magnaporthe grisea, that have been deprived of their MAP kinase gene mps1, the ability of cpmk2 to complement the defects of delta mps1 was investigated. Interestingly, the C. purpurea gene, under the control of its own promoter, was able to complement the M. grisea mutant phenotype: transformants were able to sporulate and form infection hyphae on onion epidermis and were fully pathogenic on barley leaves. This indicates that, despite the differences in infection strategies, which include host and organ specificity, mode of penetration and colonization of host tissue, CPMK2/MPS1 defines a second MAP kinase cascade (after the Fus3p/PMK1 cascade) essential for fungal pathogenicity.

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