Main content area

Patulin is a cultivar‐dependent aggressiveness factor favouring the colonization of apples by Penicillium expansum

Snini, Selma P., Tannous, Joanna, Heuillard, Pauline, Bailly, Sylviane, Lippi, Yannick, Zehraoui, Enric, Barreau, Christian, Oswald, Isabelle P., Puel, Olivier
Molecular plant pathology 2016 v.17 no.6 pp. 920-930
Penicillium expansum, apples, biosynthesis, crop production, fungi, genes, mutants, pathogenicity, patulin, zinc finger motif
The blue mould decay of apples is caused by Penicillium expansum and is associated with contamination by patulin, a worldwide regulated mycotoxin. Recently, a cluster of 15 genes (patA–patO) involved in patulin biosynthesis was identified in P. expansum. blast analysis revealed that patL encodes a Cys₆ zinc finger regulatory factor. The deletion of patL caused a drastic decrease in the expression of all pat genes, leading to an absence of patulin production. Pathogenicity studies performed on 13 apple varieties indicated that the PeΔpatL strain could still infect apples, but the intensity of symptoms was weaker compared with the wild‐type strain. A lower growth rate was observed in the PeΔpatL strain when this strain was grown on nine of the 13 apple varieties tested. In the complemented PeΔpatL:patL strain, the ability to grow normally in apple and the production of patulin were restored. Our results clearly demonstrate that patulin is not indispensable in the initiation of the disease, but acts as a cultivar‐dependent aggressiveness factor for P. expansum. This conclusion was strengthened by the fact that the addition of patulin to apple infected by the PeΔpatL mutant restored the normal fungal colonization in apple.