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Transposon impala, a Novel Tool for Gene Tagging in the Rice Blast Fungus Magnaporthe grisea

March 2001 , Volume 14 , Number  3
Pages  308 - 315

François Villalba , 1 Marc-Henri Lebrun , 2 Aurélie Hua-Van , 3 Marie-Josée Daboussi , 3 and Marie-Claire Grosjean-Cournoyer 1

1Department of Biotechnologies, Aventis CropScience; and 2Physiologie Cellulaire Végétale, UMR CNRS-Aventis 1932, 14/20 rue Pierre Baizet 69263 Lyon cedex 09, France; 3Institut de Génétique et Microbiologie, UMR CNRS-UPS C8621, Bat. 400, Université Paris-Sud, 91405 Orsay cedex, France

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Accepted 15 November 2000.

impala, a Tc1-mariner transposable element from Fusarium oxysporum, was introduced into the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe grisea to develop transposon-based insertional mutagenesis. A construct (pNIL160) containing an autonomous impala copy inserted in the promoter of niaD encoding Aspergillus nidulans nitrate reductase was introduced by transformation into a M. grisea nitrate reductase-deficient mutant. impala excision was monitored by restoration of prototrophy for nitrate. Southern analysis of niaD+ revertants revealed that impala was able to excise and reinsert at new loci in M. grisea. As observed for its host Fusarium oxysporum, impala inserted at a TA site left a typical excision footprint of 5 bp. We have shown that a defective impala copy was inactive in M. grisea, yet it can be activated by a functional impala transposase. A transformant carrying a single copy of pNIL160 was used to generate a collection of 350 revertants. Mutants either altered for their mycelial growth (Rev2) or nonpathogenic (Rev77) were obtained. Complementation of Rev77 with a 3-kb genomic fragment from a wild-type locus was successful, demonstrating the tagging of a pathogenicity gene by impala. This gene, called ORP1, is essential for penetration of host leaves by M. grisea and has no sequence homology to known genes.

© 2001 The American Phytopathological Society