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The Transcription Factor Con7-1 Is a Master Regulator of Morphogenesis and Virulence in Fusarium oxysporum

January 2015 , Volume 28 , Number  1
Pages  55 - 68

Carmen Ruiz-Roldán,1 Yolanda Pareja-Jaime,1 José Antonio González-Reyes,2 and M. Isabel G. Roncero1

1Departamento de Genética, and 2Departamento de Biología Celular, Fisiología e Inmunología, Universidad de Córdoba, Campus de Excelencia Agroalimentario (ceiA3), E-14071 Córdoba, Spain

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Accepted 24 September 2014.

Previous studies have demonstrated the essential role of morphogenetic regulation in Fusarium oxysporum pathogenesis, including processes such as cell-wall biogenesis, cell division, and differentiation of infection-like structures. We identified three F. oxysporum genes encoding predicted transcription factors showing significant identities to Magnaporthe oryzae Con7p, Con7-1, plus two identical copies of Con7-2. Targeted deletion of con7-1 produced nonpathogenic mutants with altered morphogenesis, including defects in cell wall structure, polar growth, hyphal branching, and conidiation. By contrast, simultaneous inactivation of both con7-2 copies caused no detectable defects in the resulting mutants. Comparative microarray-based gene expression analysis indicated that Con7-1 modulates the expression of a large number of genes involved in different biological functions, including host–pathogen interactions, morphogenesis and development, signal perception and transduction, transcriptional regulation, and primary and secondary metabolism. Taken together, our results point to Con7-1 as general regulator of morphogenesis and virulence in F. oxysporum.

© 2015 The American Phytopathological Society