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Overexpression of a Redox-Regulated Cutinase Gene, MfCUT1, Increases Virulence of the Brown Rot Pathogen Monilinia fructicola on Prunus spp.

February 2010 , Volume 23 , Number  2
Pages  176 - 186

Miin-Huey Lee,1,2 Chiu-Min Chiu,2 Tatiana Roubtsova,1 Chien-Ming Chou,2 and Richard M. Bostock1

1Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, One Shields Ave., Davis 95616, U.S.A.; 2Department of Plant Pathology, National Chung-Hsing University, No. 250 Kao-Kuang Rd., Taichung 402, Taiwan

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Accepted 24 September 2009.

A 4.5-kb genomic DNA containing a Monilinia fructicola cutinase gene, MfCUT1, and its flanking regions were isolated and characterized. Sequence analysis revealed that the genomic MfCUT1 carries a 63-bp intron and a promoter region with several transcription factor binding sites that may confer redox regulation of MfCUT1 expression. Redox regulation is indicated by the effect of antioxidants, shown previously to inhibit MfCUT1 gene expression in cutin-induced cultures, and in the present study, where H2O2 enhanced MfCUT1 gene expression. A β-glucuronidase (GUS) reporter gene (gusA) was fused to MfCUT1 under the control of the MfCUT1 promoter, and this construct was then used to generate an MfCUT1-GUS strain by Agrobacterium spp.-mediated transformation. The appearance of GUS activity in response to cutin and suppression of GUS activity by glucose in cutinase-inducing medium verified that the MfCUT1-GUS fusion protein was expressed correctly under the control of the MfCUT1 promoter. MfCUT1-GUS expression was detected following inoculation of peach and apple fruit, peach flower petals, and onion epidermis, and during brown rot symptom development on nectarine fruit at a relatively late stage of infection (24 h postinoculation). However, semiquantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction provided sensitive detection of MfCUT1 expression within 5 h of inoculation in both almond and peach petals. MfCUT1-GUS transformants expressed MfCUT1 transcripts at twice the level as the wild type and caused more severe symptoms on Prunus flower petals, consistent with MfCUT1 contributing to the virulence of M. fructicola.

© 2010 The American Phytopathological Society