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An autophagy gene, HoATG5, is involved in sporulation, cell wall integrity and infection of wounded barley leaves

Liu, Ning, Ning, Guo-Ao, Liu, Xiao-Hong, Feng, Xiao-Xiao, Lu, Jian-Ping, Mao, Li-Juan, Su, Zhen-Zhu, Wang, Ying, Zhang, Chu-Long, Lin, Fu-Cheng
Microbiological research 2016 v.192 pp. 326-335
Hordeum vulgare, Magnaporthe oryzae, autophagy, barley, biomass production, cell differentiation, cell walls, endophytes, endosymbionts, fungi, genes, leaves, mutants, roots, sporulation, starvation, vegetative growth, wild rice
The endophytic fungus Harpophora oryzae is a beneficial endosymbiont isolated from wild rice. H. oryzae can not only promote rice growth and biomass accumulation but also protect rice roots from invasion by its close relative Magnaporthe oryzae. Autophagy is a highly evolutionary conserved process from lower to higher eukaryotic organisms, and is involved in the maintenance of normal cell differentiation and development. In this study, we isolated a gene (HoATG5) which encodes an essential protein required for autophagy from the beneficial endophyte fungus H. oryzae. Using targeted gene replacement, a ΔHoATG5 mutant was generated and used to investigate the biological functions of autophagy in H. oryzae. We found that the autophagic process was blocked in the HoATG5 deletion mutant. The mutant showed increased vegetative growth and sporulation, and was sensitive to nutrient starvation. The ΔHoATG5 mutant lost its ability to penetrate and infect the wounded barley leaves. These results provide new knowledge to elaborate the molecular machinery of autophagy in endophytic fungi.