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Mol Plant Pathol. 2012 Apr;13(3):318-26. doi: 10.1111/j.1364-3703.2011.00748.x. Epub 2011 Oct 7.

RNA-mediated gene silencing of ToxB in Pyrenophora tritici-repentis.

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Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2P5.


The fungus Pyrenophora tritici-repentis causes tan spot, a wheat leaf disease of worldwide importance. The pathogen produces three host-selective toxins, including Ptr ToxB, which causes chlorophyll degradation and foliar chlorosis on toxin-sensitive wheat genotypes. The ToxB gene, which codes for Ptr ToxB, was silenced in a wild-type race 5 isolate of the fungus thorough a sense- and antisense-mediated silencing mechanism. Toxin production by the silenced strains was evaluated in culture filtrates of the fungus via Western blotting analysis, and plant bioassays were conducted to test the virulence of the transformants in planta. The chlorosis-inducing ability of the silenced strains was correlated with the quantity of Ptr ToxB, and transformants in which toxin production was strongly decreased also caused very little disease on toxin-sensitive wheat genotypes. Cytological analysis of the infection process revealed that, in addition to a reduced capacity to induce chlorosis, the silenced strains with the greatest decrease in the levels of Ptr ToxB produced significantly fewer appressoria than the wild-type isolate, 12 and 24 h after inoculation onto wheat leaves. The results provide strong support for the suggestion that the amount of Ptr ToxB protein produced by fungal isolates plays a significant role in the quantitative variation in the virulence of P. tritici-repentis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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