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LaeA and VeA are involved in growth morphology, asexual development, and mycotoxin production in Alternaria alternata

Estiarte, N., Lawrence, C.B., Sanchis, V., Ramos, A.J., Crespo-Sempere, A.
International journal of food microbiology 2016 v.238 pp. 153-164
Alternaria alternata, animal and human health, biosynthesis, farmers, financial economics, food industry, fruits, fungi, gene expression, genes, grains, melanin, mycotoxins, pathogenesis, regulatory proteins, sporulation, tomatoes
Alternaria alternata is a common filamentous fungus that contaminates various fruits, grains and vegetables causing important economic losses to farmers and the food industry. A. alternata is a mycotoxigenic mould, which may jeopardize human and animal health. Two of the most common A. alternata mycotoxins found in food and feed are alternariol and alternariol monomethyl ether. In this study we examined the role of LaeA and VeA, two regulatory proteins belonging to the velvet family, which have been described to be involved in several functions in many fungi including secondary metabolism. We found that deletion of laeA and veA genes, respectively, greatly reduced sporulation and strongly compromised mycotoxin production, both in vitro or during pathogenesis of tomato fruits. We have also studied how the loss of laeA and veA may affect expression of genes related to alternariol and alternariol monomethyl ether biosynthesis (pksJ and altR), and to melanin biosynthesis (cmrA, pksA).