Phototrophy and starvation-based induction of autophagy upon removal of Gcn5-catalyzed acetylation of Atg7 in Magnaporthe oryzae.

PMID 28594263


Magnaporthe oryzae, the ascomycete fungus that causes rice blast disease, initiates conidiation in response to light when grown on Prune-Agar medium containing both carbon and nitrogen sources. Macroautophagy/autophagy was shown to be essential for M. oryzae conidiation and induced specifically upon exposure to light but is undetectable in the dark. Therefore, it is inferred that autophagy is naturally induced by light, rather than by starvation during M. oryzae conidiation. However, the signaling pathway(s) involved in such phototropic induction of autophagy remains unknown. We identified an M. oryzae ortholog of GCN5 (MGG_03677), encoding a histone acetyltransferase (HAT) that negatively regulates light- and nitrogen-starvation-induced autophagy, by acetylating the autophagy protein Atg7. Furthermore, we unveiled novel regulatory mechanisms on Gcn5 at both transcriptional and post-translational levels, governing its function associated with the unique phototropic response of autophagy in this pathogenic fungus. Thus, our study depicts a signaling network and regulatory mechanism underlying the autophagy induction by important environmental clues such as light and nutrients.