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Fungal Genet Biol. 2008 Jun;45(6):947-53. doi: 10.1016/j.fgb.2008.03.007. Epub 2008 Mar 25.

Role of AREA, a regulator of nitrogen metabolism, during colonization of maize kernels and fumonisin biosynthesis in Fusarium verticillioides.

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Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Purdue University, 915 W. State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.


Fumonisin B1 (FB(1)) biosynthesis is repressed in cultures containing ammonium as the nitrogen source and when grown on blister kernels, the earliest stages of kernel development. In this study AREA, a regulator of nitrogen metabolism, was disrupted in Fusarium verticilliodes. The mutant (DeltaareA) grew poorly on mature maize kernels, but grew similar to wild type (WT) with the addition of ammonium phosphate. FB(1) was not produced by DeltaareA under any condition or by the WT with added ammonium phosphate. Constitutive expression of AREA (strain AREA-CE) rescued the growth and FB(1) defects in DeltaareA. Growth of WT, DeltaareA, and AREA-CE on blister-stage kernels was similar. After 7 days of growth, none of the strains produced FB(1) and the pH of the kernel tissues was 8.0. Addition of amylopectin to the blister kernels resulted in a pH near 6.6 and FB(1) production by WT and AREA-CE. The results support the hypothesis that FB(1) biosynthesis is regulated by AREA. Also the failure to produce FB(1) in blister kernels is due to high pH conditions generated because of an unfavorable carbon/nitrogen environment.

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