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A Novel Protein Com1 Is Required for Normal Conidium Morphology and Full Virulence in Magnaporthe oryzae

January 2010 , Volume 23 , Number  1
Pages  112 - 123

Jun Yang,1 Xiaoyan Zhao,1 Jing Sun,1 Zhensheng Kang,2 Shengli Ding,3 Jin-Rong Xu,3 and You-Liang Peng1,4

1State Key Laboratory of Agrobiotechnology and MOA Key Laboratory of Plant Pathology, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China; 2College of Plant Protection, Northwest A&F University, Yangling, Shaanxi 712100, China; 3Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA; 4National Plant Gene Research Center (Beijing), Beijing 100193, China

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Accepted 16 September 2009.

In Magnaporthe oryzae, pyriform conidia are the primary inoculum and the main source for disease dissemination in the field. In this study, we identified and characterized the COM1 gene that was disrupted in three insertional mutants producing slender conidia. COM1 encodes a putative transcription regulator unique to filamentous ascomycetes. The com1 disruption and deletion mutants had similar defects in conidium morphology and were significantly reduced in virulence on rice and barley seedlings. Microscopic examination revealed that the Δcom1 mutants were defective in appressorium turgor generation, penetration, and infectious growth. COM1 was expressed constitutively in M. oryzae. The Com1 protein had putative helix-loop-helix structures and three predicted nuclear localization signal sequences. In transformants expressing COM1335-613--enhanced green fluorescent protein fusion constructs, fluorescence signals were observed in the nucleus. Our data indicated that the COM1 gene may encode a novel transcription regulator that regulates conidial development and invasive growth in M. oryzae.

© 2010 The American Phytopathological Society