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Gene Disruption of an Arabinofuranosidase/β-Xylosidase Precursor Decreases Sclerotinia sclerotiorum Virulence on Canola Tissue

July 2009 , Volume 22 , Number  7
Pages  783 - 789

William Yajima, Yue Liang, and Nat N. V. Kav

Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2P5, Canada

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Accepted 12 March 2009.

Although Sclerotinia sclerotiorum (Lib.) de Bary has been studied extensively, there are still aspects of this important phytopathogen's ability to cause disease in susceptible plants that remain unclear. A recent comprehensive proteome-level investigation of this fungus identified a number of proteins whose functions in disease initiation and progression have not been clearly established. Included among these proteins was an arabinofuranosidase/β-xylosidase precursor whose role as a potential virulence factor had not been investigated previously. This article describes the generation of gene-disrupted mutant S. sclerotiorum unable to produce this arabinofuranosidase/β-xylosidase precursor as well as the comparison of the virulence of this mutant with that of wild-type mycelia on susceptible canola leaves and stems. At all time points tested, the degree of necrosis was observed to be significantly greater on the plant tissue inoculated with wild-type mycelia. To our knowledge, this is the first report that clearly demonstrates that this arabinofuranosidase/β-xylosidase precursor is a virulence factor for S. sclerotiorum.

© 2009 The American Phytopathological Society