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Mol Plant Pathol. 2014 May;15(4):394-405. doi: 10.1111/mpp.12102. Epub 2013 Dec 17.

Molecular characterization and functional analyses of ZtWor1, a transcriptional regulator of the fungal wheat pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici.

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Plant Science Group, Plant Research International BV, Wageningen University, Droevendaalsesteeg 1, 06708 PB, Wageningen, The Netherlands; Department of Plant Protection, College of Agriculture, University of Tehran, Plant Pathology Building, Karaj, Iran.


Zymoseptoria tritici causes the major fungal wheat disease septoria tritici blotch, and is increasingly being used as a model for transmission and population genetics, as well as host-pathogen interactions. Here, we study the biological function of ZtWor1, the orthologue of Wor1 in the fungal human pathogen Candida albicans, as a representative of a superfamily of regulatory proteins involved in dimorphic switching. In Z. tritici, this gene is pivotal for pathogenesis, as ZtWor1 mutants were nonpathogenic and complementation restored the wild-type phenotypes. In planta expression analyses showed that ZtWor1 is up-regulated during the initiation of colonization and fructification, and regulates candidate effector genes, including one that was discovered after comparative proteome analysis of the Z. tritici wild-type strain and the ZtWor1 mutant, which was particularly expressed in planta. Cell fusion and anastomosis occur frequently in ZtWor1 mutants, reminiscent of mutants of MgGpb1, the β-subunit of the heterotrimeric G protein. Comparative expression of ZtWor1 in knock-out strains of MgGpb1 and MgTpk2, the catalytic subunit of protein kinase A, suggests that ZtWor1 is downstream of the cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) pathway that is crucial for pathogenesis in many fungal plant pathogens.

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