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Fungal Genet Biol. 2008 Mar;45(3):363-77. doi: 10.1016/j.fgb.2007.10.014. Epub 2007 Oct 30.

Homologs of ToxB, a host-selective toxin gene from Pyrenophora tritici-repentis, are present in the genome of sister-species Pyrenophora bromi and other members of the Ascomycota.

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Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.


Pyrenophora tritici-repentis requires the production of host-selective toxins (HSTs) to cause the disease tan spot of wheat, including Ptr ToxA, Ptr ToxB, and Ptr ToxC. Pyrenophora bromi, the species most closely related to P. tritici-repentis, is the causal agent of brown leaf spot of bromegrass. Because of the relatedness of P. bromi and P. tritici-repentis, we investigated the possibility that P. bromi contains sequences homologous to ToxA and/or ToxB, the products of which may be involved in its interaction with bromegrass. Multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) revealed the presence of ToxB-like sequences in P. bromi and high-fidelity PCR was used to clone several of these loci, which were subsequently confirmed to be homologous to ToxB. Additionally, Southern analysis revealed ToxB from P. bromi to have a multicopy nature similar to ToxB from P. tritici-repentis. A combination of phylogenetic and Southern analyses revealed that the distribution of ToxB extends further into the Pleosporaceae, and a search of available fungal genomes identified a distant putative homolog in Magnaporthe grisea, causal agent of rice blast. Thus, unlike most described HSTs, ToxB homologs are present across a broad range of plant pathogenic ascomycetes, suggesting that it may have arose in an early ancestor of the Ascomycota.

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