Fungal genetics and biology : FG & B

PHL1 of Cercospora zeae-maydis encodes a member of the photolyase/cryptochrome family involved in UV protection and fungal development.

PMID 18682297


DNA photolyases harvest light energy to repair genomic lesions induced by UV irradiation, whereas cryptochromes, presumptive descendants of 6-4 DNA photolyases, have evolved in plants and animals as blue-light photoreceptors that function exclusively in signal transduction. Orthologs of 6-4 photolyases are predicted to exist in the genomes of some filamentous fungi, but their function is unknown. In this study, we identified two putative photolyase-encoding genes in the maize foliar pathogen Cercospora zeae-maydis: CPD1, an ortholog of cyclobutane pyrimidine dimer (CPD) photolyases described in other filamentous fungi, and PHL1, a cryptochrome/6-4 photolyase-like gene. Strains disrupted in PHL1 (Deltaphl1) displayed abnormalities in development and secondary metabolism but were unaffected in their ability to infect maize leaves. After exposure to lethal doses of UV light, conidia of Deltaphl1 strains were abolished in photoreactivation and displayed reduced expression of CPD1, as well as RAD2 and RVB2, orthologs of genes involved in nucleotide excision and chromatin remodeling during DNA damage repair. This study presents the first characterization of a 6-4 photolyase ortholog in a filamentous fungus and provides evidence that PHL1 regulates responses to UV irradiation.

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