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AAL-Toxin-Deficient Mutants of Alternaria alternata Tomato Pathotype by Restriction Enzyme-Mediated Integration

September 1997 , Volume 87 , Number  9
Pages  967 - 972

H. Akamatsu , Y. Itoh , M. Kodama , H. Otani , and K. Kohmoto

First and fourth authors: United Graduate School of Agricultural Sciences, Tottori University, Tottori 680, Japan; and second, third, and fifth authors: Laboratory of Plant Pathology, Faculty of Agriculture, Tottori University, Tottori 680, Japan

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Accepted for publication 6 June 1997.

Host-specific toxins are produced by three pathotypes of Alternaria alternata: AM-toxin, which affects apple; AK-toxin, which affects Japanese pear; and AAL-toxin, which affects tomato. Each toxin has a role in pathogenesis. To facilitate molecular genetic analysis of toxin production, isolation of toxin-deficient mutants utilizing ectopic integration of plasmid DNA has been attempted. However, the transformation frequency was low, and integration events in most transformants were complicated. Addition of a restriction enzyme during transformation has been reported to increase transformation frequencies significantly and results in simple plasmid integration events. We have, therefore, optimized this technique, known as restriction enzyme-mediated integration (REMI), for A. alternata pathotypes. Plasmid pAN7-1, conferring resistance to hygromycin B, with no detectable homology to the fungal genome was used as the transforming DNA. Among the three restriction enzymes examined, HindIII was most effective, as it increased transformation frequency two-to 10-fold depending on the pathotype, facilitating generation of several hundred transformants with a 1-day protocol. BamHI and XbaI had no significant effect on transformation frequencies in A. alternata pathotypes. Furthermore, the transforming plasmid tended to integrate as a single copy at single sites in the genome, compared with trials without addition of enzyme. Libraries of plasmid-tagged transformants obtained with and without addition of restriction enzyme were constructed for the tomato pathotype of A. alternata and were screened for toxin production. Three AAL-toxin-deficient mutants were isolated from a library of transformants obtained with addition of enzyme. These mutants did not cause symptoms on susceptible tomato, indicating that the toxin is required for pathogenicity of the fungus. Characterization of the plasmid integration sites and rescue of flanking sequences are in progress.

© 1997 The American Phytopathological Society