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Disease Phenotype of Virus-Infected Helminthosporium victoriae Is Independent of Overexpression of the Cellular Alcohol Oxidase/RNA-Binding Protein Hv-p68

March 2006 , Volume 96 , Number  3
Pages  326 - 332

Tianyong Zhao , Wendy M. Havens , and Said A. Ghabrial

Department of Plant Pathology, University of Kentucky, Lexington 40546

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Accepted for publication 29 November 2005.

The cellular protein Hv-p68 is a novel alcohol oxidase/RNA-binding protein that is overexpressed in virus-infected isolates of the plant-pathogenic fungus Helminthosporium victoriae (teleomorph: Cochliobolus victoriae). Overproduction of Hv-p68 has been hypothesized to lead to the accumulation of toxic aldehydes and to induce the disease phenotype associated with the virus-infected isolates. We overexpressed the Hv-p68 gene in virus-free isolates and evaluated the morphology of the resulting colonies. We cloned and sequenced the Hv-p68 genomic DNA, which contains five introns and the complete Hv-p68 coding sequence. Vectors for overexpression of the Hv-p68 gene were constructed with either Hv-p68 cDNA or the intron-containing Hv-p68 genomic DNA. Expression of Hv-p68 was significantly higher if the genomic sequence was used for transformation than if the cDNA sequence was used. The virus-free fungal transformants that overexpressed Hv-p68 gene did not exhibit the disease phenotype. In contrast, these transformants showed enhanced growth rates when compared with the nontransformed and empty vector controls. Interestingly, overexpression of Hv-p68 in a fungal isolate infected with both the totivirus Helminthosporium victoriae 190S virus (Hv190SV) and the chrysovirus Helminthosporium victoriae 145S virus (Hv145S) showed enhanced accumulation of the Hv145SV double-stranded (ds)RNA, but not of the Hv190SV. These results are consistent with an earlier report that Hv-p68 co-purified with viral dsRNA, mainly that of the Hv145SV. Elucidation of the role of Hv-p68 in disease induction is important for an understanding of host-virus interactions in this fungus-virus system.

Additional keywords: fungal transformation.

© 2006 The American Phytopathological Society