Molecular plant-microbe interactions : MPMI

The VELVET Complex in the Gray Mold Fungus Botrytis cinerea: Impact of BcLAE1 on Differentiation, Secondary Metabolism, and Virulence.

PMID 25625818


Botrytis cinerea, the gray mold fungus, is an important plant pathogen. Field populations are characterized by variability with regard to morphology, the mode of reproduction (conidiation or sclerotia formation), the spectrum of secondary metabolites (SM), and virulence. Natural variation in bcvel1 encoding the ortholog of Aspergillus nidulans VeA, a member of the VELVET complex, was previously shown to affect light-dependent differentiation, the formation of oxalic acid (OA), and virulence. To gain broader insight into the B. cinerea VELVET complex, an ortholog of A. nidulans LaeA, BcLAE1, a putative interaction partner of BcVEL1, was studied. BcVEL1 but not its truncated versions interacts with BcLAE1 and BcVEL2 (VelB ortholog). In accordance with the expected common as well as specific functions of BcVEL1 and BcLAE1, the deletions of both genes result in similar though not identical phenotypes. Both mutants lost the ability to produce OA, to colonize the host tissue, and to form sclerotia. However, mutants differ with regard to aerial hyphae and conidia formation. Genome-wide expression analyses revealed that BcVEL1 and BcLAE1 have common and distinct target genes. Some of the genes that are underexpressed in both mutants, e.g., those encoding SM-related enzymes, proteases, and carbohydrate-active enzymes, may account for their reduced virulence.

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