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Computational prediction of time-course subnetwork modules associated with histidine kinase activities in maize pathogen Fusarium verticillioides
Man Kim: Texas A&M University; Won-Bo Shim: Texas A&M University
<div><i>Fusarium verticillioides</i> is a fungal pathogen causing maize ear rots worldwide, and maize contaminated with fumonisins poses human and animal health risks. There is a critical need to improve our understanding of the disease to develop effective control strategies. Recently, we developed computational methods to analyze large-scale RNA-Seq datasets and identify <i>F. verticillioides</i> genes as potential molecular targets for disrupting pathogenesis and reducing fumonisin contamination. This study demonstrates our effort to systematically investigate the role of histidine kinase (HK) genes during Fusarium ear rot. We performed network-based comparative analysis in a time-course manner to monitor differential HK gene activities in <i>F. verticillioides</i> on maize kernels compared to vegetative growth. We found that majority of HK genes are significantly activated with other genes at certain time points only. Meanwhile selected HK genes are significantly activated at multiple time points, but with closely correlated genes drastically changing over time. We identified HK genes associated with the osmotic-stress response signaling, a well-known function of HK, and show that the transcriptional subnetwork modules between HK two-component system and Hog MAP kinase cascade are correlated in a complex manner. This computational method allows us to advance the discovery of time-specific co-expression subnetwork modules associated with HK gene regulation and Fusarium ear rot pathogenesis.</div>

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