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Structural and Functional Complexity of the Genomic Region Controlling AK-Toxin Biosynthesis and Pathogenicity in the Japanese Pear Pathotype of Alternaria alternata

September 2000 , Volume 13 , Number  9
Pages  975 - 986

Aiko Tanaka and Takashi Tsuge

Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences, Nagoya University, Chikusa, Nagoya 464-8601, Japan

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Accepted 8 May 2000.

The Japanese pear pathotype of Alternaria alternata produces host-specific AK-toxin and causes black spot of Japanese pear. Previously, a cosmid clone, pcAKT-1, was isolated that contains two genes, AKT1 and AKT2, within a 5.0-kb region required for AK-toxin biosynthesis. The wild-type strain has multiple, nonfunctional copies of these genes. In the present study, two additional genes, AKTR-1 and AKT3-1, downstream of AKT2 were identified. Transformation of the wild type with AKTR-1- and AKT3-1-targeting vectors produced toxin-deficient (Tox¯), nonpathogenic mutants. DNA gel blot analysis, however, demonstrated that the fragments targeted in Tox¯ mutants were different from those containing AKTR-1 and AKT3-1 on the transforming vectors. A cosmid clone, pcAKT-2, containing the targeted DNA was isolated and shown to carry two genes, AKTR-2 and AKT3-2, with high similarity to AKTR-1 and AKT3-1, respectively. Transcripts from not only AKTR-2 and AKT3-2 but also AKTR-1 and AKT3-1 were found in the wild type. DNA gel blot analysis with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis showed that AKT1, AKT2, AKT3, and AKTR and their homologues are on a single chromosome. These results indicate the structural and functional complexity of the genomic region controlling AK-toxin biosynthesis.

© 2000 The American Phytopathological Society