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Fusarium graminearum Tri12p Influences Virulence to Wheat and Trichothecene Accumulation

November 2012 , Volume 25 , Number  11
Pages  1,408 - 1,418

Jon Menke,1 Yanhong Dong,1 and H. Corby Kistler1,2

1Department of Plant Pathology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul 55108, U.S.A.; 2United States Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service Cereal Disease Laboratory, 1551 Lindig Street, St. Paul, MN 55108, U.S.A.

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Accepted 13 July 2012.

The gene Tri12 encodes a predicted major facilitator superfamily protein suggested to play a role in export of trichothecene mycotoxins produced by Fusarium spp. It is unclear, however, how the Tri12 protein (Tri12p) may influence trichothecene sensitivity and virulence of the wheat pathogen Fusarium graminearum. In this study, we establish a role for Tri12 in toxin accumulation and sensitivity as well as in pathogenicity toward wheat. Tri12 deletion mutants (tri12) are reduced in virulence and result in decreased trichothecene accumulation when inoculated on wheat compared with the wild-type strain or an ectopic mutant. Reduced radial growth of tri12 mutants on trichothecene biosynthesis induction medium was observed relative to the wild type and the ectopic strains. Diminished trichothecene accumulation was observed in liquid medium cultures inoculated with tri12 mutants. Wild-type fungal cells grown under conditions that induce trichothecene biosynthesis develop distinct subapical swelling and form large vacuoles. A strain expressing Tri12p linked to green fluorescent protein shows localization of the protein consistent with the plasma membrane. Our results indicate Tri12 plays a role in self-protection and influences toxin production and virulence of the fungus in planta.

This article is in the public domain and not copyrightable. It may be freely reprinted with customary crediting of the source. The American Phytopathological Society, 2012.