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A Decarboxylase Encoded at the Cochliobolus heterostrophus Translocation-Associated Tox1B Locus Is Required for Polyketide (T-toxin) Biosynthesis and High Virulence on T-cytoplasm Maize

September 2002 , Volume 15 , Number  9
Pages  883 - 893

Mark S. Rose , Sung-Hwan Yun , Thipa Asvarak , Shun-Wen Lu , O. C. Yoder , and B. Gillian Turgeon

Department of Plant Pathology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853 U.S.A.

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Accepted 22 April 2002.

Genes at two unlinked loci (Tox1A and Tox1B) are required for production of the polyketide T-toxin by Cochliobolus heterostrophus race T, a pathogenic fungus that requires T-toxin for high virulence to maize with T-cytoplasm. Previous work indicated that Tox1A encodes a polyketide synthase (PKS1) required for T-toxin biosynthesis and for high virulence. To identify genes at Tox1B, a wild-type race T cDNA library was screened for genes missing in the genome of a Tox1B deletion mutant. The library was probed, first with a 415-kb NotI restriction fragment from the genome of the Tox1B¯ mutant, then with the corresponding 560-kb fragment from the genome of wild type. Two genes, DEC1 (similar to aceto-acetate decarboxylase-encoding genes) and RED1 (similar to genes encoding members of the medium-chain dehydro-genase/reductase superfamily), were recovered. Targeted disruption of DEC1 drastically reduced both T-toxin production and virulence of race T to T-cytoplasm maize, whereas specific inactivation of RED1 had no apparent effect on T-toxin production (as determined by bioassay) or on virulence. DEC1 and RED1 map within 1.5 kb of each other on Tox1B chromosome 6;12 and are unique to the genome of race T, an observation consistent with the hypothesis that these genes were acquired by C. heterostrophus via a horizontal transfer event.

Additional keywords: Mycosphaerella zeae-maydis , race O.

© 2002 The American Phytopathological Society