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Fungal Genet Biol. 2012 Aug;49(8):663-73. doi: 10.1016/j.fgb.2012.05.009. Epub 2012 Jun 15.

Transcriptome analyses during fruiting body formation in Fusarium graminearum and Fusarium verticillioides reflect species life history and ecology.

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Department of Plant Biology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA.


Fusarium graminearum and F. verticillioides are devastating cereal pathogens with very different life history and ecological characteristics. F. graminearum is homothallic, and sexual spores are an important component of its life cycle, responsible for disease initiation. F. verticilloides is heterothallic, and produces only modest numbers of fruiting bodies, which are not a significant source of inoculum. To identify corresponding differences in the transcriptional program underlying fruiting body development in the two species, comparative expression was performed, analyzing six developmental stages. To accompany the transcriptional analysis, detailed morphological characterization of F. verticillioides development was performed and compared to a previous morphological analysis of F. graminearum. Morphological development was similar between the two species, except for the observation of possible trichogynes in F. verticillioides ascogonia, which have not been previously reported for any Fusarium species. Expression of over 9000 orthologous genes were measured for the two species. Functional assignments of highly expressed orthologous genes at each time-point revealed the majority of highly expressed genes fell into the "unclassified proteins" category, reflecting the lack of characterization of genes for sexual development in both species. Simultaneous examination of morphological development and stage-specific gene expression suggests that degeneration of the paraphyses during sexual development is an apoptotic process. Expression of mating type genes in the two species differed, possibly reflecting the divergent roles they play in sexual development. Overall, the differences in gene expression reflect the greater role of fruiting bodies in the life cycle and ecology of F. graminearum versus F. verticillioides.

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