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Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 1995 Jul-Aug;8(4):593-601.

Reduced virulence of Gibberella zeae caused by disruption of a trichothecene toxin biosynthetic gene.

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Mycotoxin Research Unit, USDA/ARS, National Center for Agriculture Utilization Research, Peoria, IL 61604, USA.


The production of trichothecene mycotoxins by some plant pathogenic species of Fusarium is thought to contribute to their virulence. Gibberella zeae (F. graminearum) is an important cereal pathogen that produces the trichothecene deoxynivalenol. To determine if trichothecene production contributes to the virulence of G. zeae, we generated trichothecene-deficient mutants of the fungus by gene disruption. The disrupted gene, Tri5, encodes the enzyme trichodiene synthase, which catalyzes the first step in trichothecene biosynthesis. To disrupt Tri5, G. zeae was transformed with a plasmid carrying a doubly truncated copy of the Tri5 coding region interrupted by a hygromycin B resistance gene. Tri5- transformants were selected by screening for the inability to produce trichothecenes and by Southern blot analysis. Tri5- strains exhibited reduced virulence on seedlings of Wheaton wheat and common winter rye, but wild-type virulence on seedlings of Golden Bantam maize. On Caldwell and Marshall wheat and Porter oat seedlings, Tri5- strains were inconsistent in causing less disease than their wild-type progenitor strain. Head blight developed more slowly on Wheaton when inoculated with Tri5- mutants than when inoculated with wild-type strains. These results suggest that trichothecene production contributes to the virulence of G. zeae on some hosts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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