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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1997 Sep;63(9):3548-52.

Molecular genetic evidence for the involvement of a specific polygalacturonase, P2c, in the invasion and spread of Aspergillus flavus in cotton bolls.

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Department of Plant Pathology and Physiology, Clemson University, South Carolina 29634-0377, USA.


Isolates of Aspergillus flavus can be differentiated based on production of the polygalacturonase P2c. One group of isolates produces P2c, whereas the other group does not. In general, the group that produces P2c causes more damage and spreads to a greater extent in cotton bolls than those isolates that do not produce P2c. To determine whether P2c contributes to disease, the expression of pecA, the gene previously determined to encode P2c, was genetically altered. Adding the pecA gene to a strain previously lacking the gene resulted in the ability to cause significantly more damage to the intercarpellary membrane and the ability spread to a greater extent within the adjacent locule compared to the abilities of a control transformant. Conversely, eliminating the expression of pecA by targeted disruption caused a significant reduction in aggressiveness compared to that of a nondisrupted control transformant. These results provide direct evidence that P2c contributes to the invasion and spread of A. flavus during infection of cotton bolls. However, other factors not evaluated in this study also contribute to aggressiveness.

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