First, second, third, and fifth authors: Unité Mixte de Recherches de Biochimie, Biologie Cellulaire et Ecologie des Interactions Plante/ Microorganisme, INRA-CMSE, 17 Rue Sully, BP86510, F. 21065 Dijon Cedex, France; and fourth author: Dipartimento di Protezione delle Piante, Universitá degli Studi di Sassari, Via Enrico De Nicola 9, I-07100 Sassari, Italy
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Accepted for publication 9 April 2002.
To investigate the biocontrol mechanisms by which the antagonistic Fusarium oxysporum strain Fo47 is active against Fusarium wilt, a Fot1 transposon-mediated insertional mutagenesis approach was adopted to generate mutants affected in their antagonistic activity. Ninety strains in which an active Fot1 copy had transposed were identified with a phenotypic assay for excision and tested for their biocontrol activity against F. oxysporum f. sp. lini on flax in greenhouse experiments. Sixteen strains were affected in their capacity to protect flax plants, either positively (more antagonistic than Fo47) or negatively (less antagonistic). The molecular characterization of these mutants confirms the excision of Fot1 and its reinsertion in most of the cases. Moreover, we demonstrate that other transposable elements such as Fot2, impala, and Hop have no transposition activity in the mutant genomes. The phenotypic characterization of these mutants shows that they are affected neither in their in vitro growth habit nor in their competitiveness in soil compared with wild-type strain Fo47. These results show that mutants are not impaired in their saprophytic phase and suggest that the altered biocontrol phenotype should likely be expressed during the interaction with the host plant.
The American Phytopathological Society, 2002