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Expression of pathogenesis-related genes in Metarhizium anisopliae when infecting Spodoptera exigua

Javar, Saeedeh, Mohamed, Rozi, Sajap, Ahmad Said, Lau, Wei-Hong
Biological control 2015 v.85 pp. 30-36
Metarhizium anisopliae, Spodoptera exigua, biological control, chitinase, conidia, conidiation, culture media, fungi, genes, hyphae, insects, larvae, mycelium, pathogenesis, proteinases, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, saprophytes
Characterization of pathogenesis genes of Metarhizium anisopliae, will provide better understanding of the role of these genes during pathogenesis. The expression profiles of pathogenesis-related genes encoding for a subtilisin-like protease (PR1), two types of chitinases (CHI2 and CHI3), and a peptide synthetase (PES) were studied during the different stages of M. anisopliae infection in Spodoptera exigua larvae using quantitative real-time RT-PCR. Sampling were at 0, 2, 12, and 24h after infection, when the infected larvae reached the moribund stage (36h), when mycelia emerged from the cadavers, when few conidia had formed on the mycelia, and when the cadavers were covered by conidia. For comparison, conidia and mycelial samples harvested from culture media were also included. Among the studied genes, PR1 expression was detected early at 2h after infection and increased as the infection progressed. CHI2 and CHI3 expressions were detected 12h after infection and when the mycelia emerged from cadavers, respectively. The expression levels of PR1, CHI2 and CHI3 genes increased significantly at the beginning of conidiogenesis on cadavers, but decreased at later stages. As expected, their expressions in pure fungal propagules were at very low levels. For PES gene, fold changes were not significant between different samples (less than onefold), indicating it might not have a major role in infecting stages. High expression levels of PR1, CHI2, and CHI3 genes during the post-mortem hyphal growth and conidiation stages of M. anisopliae clearly indicate the importance of these genes during the saprophytic phase of this fungus on host insect.