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Fungal Genet Biol. 2007 Nov;44(11):1123-33. Epub 2007 Apr 12.

Signaling via the Trichoderma atroviride mitogen-activated protein kinase Tmk 1 differentially affects mycoparasitism and plant protection.

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Vienna University of Technology, Institute for Chemical Engineering, Research Area of Gene Technology and Applied Biochemistry, Working Group Molecular Biochemistry of Fungi, A-1060 Wien, Austria.


Trichoderma atroviride is a mycoparasite of a number of plant pathogenic fungi thereby employing morphological changes and secretion of cell wall degrading enzymes and antibiotics. The function of the tmk 1 gene encoding a mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) during fungal growth, mycoparasitic interaction, and biocontrol was examined in T. atroviride. Deltatmk 1 mutants exhibited altered radial growth and conidiation, and displayed de-regulated infection structure formation in the absence of a host-derived signal. In confrontation assays, tmk 1 deletion caused reduced mycoparasitic activity although attachment to Rhizoctonia solani and Botrytis cinerea hyphae was comparable to the parental strain. Under chitinase-inducing conditions, nag 1 and ech 42 transcript levels and extracellular chitinase activities were elevated in a Deltatmk 1 mutant, whereas upon direct confrontation with R. solani or B. cinerea a host-specific regulation of ech 42 transcription was found and nag 1 gene transcription was no more inducible over an elevated basal level. Deltatmk 1 mutants exhibited higher antifungal activity caused by low molecular weight substances, which was reflected by an over-production of 6-pentyl-alpha-pyrone and peptaibol antibiotics. In biocontrol assays, a Deltatmk 1 mutant displayed a higher ability to protect bean plants against R. solani.

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