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Differential Gene Expression During Conidiation in the Grape Powdery Mildew Pathogen, Erysiphe necator

July 2011 , Volume 101 , Number  7
Pages  839 - 846

Laura Wakefield, David M. Gadoury, Robert C. Seem, Michael G. Milgroom, Qi Sun, and Lance Cadle-Davidson

First, second, third, and sixth authors: Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, Cornell University, Geneva, NY 14456; fourth author: Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, and fifth author: Computational Biology Service Unit, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853; and sixth author: United States Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Services, Grape Genetics Research Unit, 630 W. North St., Geneva, NY 14456.

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Accepted for publication 4 March 2011.

Asexual sporulation (conidiation) is coordinately regulated in the grape powdery mildew pathogen Erysiphe necator but nothing is known about its genetic regulation. We hypothesized that genes required for conidiation in other fungi would be upregulated at conidiophore initiation or full conidiation (relative to preconidiation vegetative growth and development of mature ascocarps), and that the obligate biotrophic lifestyle of E. necator would necessitate some novel gene regulation. cDNA amplified fragment length polymorphism analysis with 45 selective primer combinations produced ≈1,600 transcript-derived fragments (TDFs), of which 620 (39%) showed differential expression. TDF sequences were annotated using BLAST analysis of GenBank and of a reference transcriptome for E. necator developed by 454-FLX pyrosequencing of a normalized cDNA library. One-fourth of the differentially expressed, annotated sequences had similarity to fungal genes of unknown function. The remaining genes had annotated function in metabolism, signaling, transcription, transport, and protein fate. As expected, a portion of orthologs known in other fungi to be involved in developmental regulation was upregulated immediately prior to or during conidiation; particularly noteworthy were several genes associated with the light-dependent VeA regulatory system, G-protein signaling (Pth11 and a kelch repeat), and nuclear transport (importin-β and Ran). This work represents the first investigation into differential gene expression during morphogenesis in E. necator and identifies candidate genes and hypotheses for characterization in powdery mildews. Our results indicate that, although control of conidiation in powdery mildews may share some basic elements with established systems, there are significant points of divergence as well, perhaps due, in part, to the obligate biotrophic lifestyle of powdery mildews.

Additional keywords: expression analysis, Uncinula.

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, 2011.