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FvSNF1, the sucrose non-fermenting protein kinase gene of Fusarium virguliforme, is required for cell-wall-degrading enzymes expression and sudden death syndrome development in soybean

Islam, Kazi T., Bond, Jason P., Fakhoury, Ahmad M.
Current genetics 2017 v.63 no.4 pp. 723-738
Fusarium virguliforme, agglutinins, arabinose, carbon, death, fructose, galactose, genes, glucose, greenhouses, maltose, microbial biomass, microscopy, mutants, oxidation, pectins, phloem, plant pathogenic fungi, protein kinases, roots, soybeans, sucrose, virulence, wheat germ, xylem vessels, xylose, yeasts
Fusarium virguliforme is a soil-borne pathogenic fungus that causes sudden death syndrome (SDS) in soybean. Its pathogenicity is believed to require the activity of cell-wall-degrading enzymes (CWDEs). The sucrose non-fermenting protein kinase 1 gene (SNF1) is a key component of the glucose de-repression pathway in yeast, and a regulator of gene expression for CWDEs in some plant pathogenic fungi. To elucidate the functional role of the SNF1 homolog in F. virguliforme, FvSNF1 was disrupted using a split-marker strategy. Disruption of FvSNF1 in F. virguliforme abolishes galactose utilization and causes poor growth on xylose, arabinose and sucrose. However, the resulting Fvsnf1 mutant grew similar to wild-type and ectopic transformants on glucose, fructose, maltose, or pectin as the main source of carbon. The Fvsnf1 mutant displayed no expression of the gene-encoding galactose oxidase (GAO), a secretory enzyme that catalyzes oxidation of D-galactose. It also exhibited a significant reduction in the expression of several CWDE-coding genes in contrast to the wild-type strain. Greenhouse pathogenicity assays revealed that the Fvsnf1 mutant was severely impaired in its ability to cause SDS on challenged soybean plants. Microscopy and microtome studies on infected roots showed that the Fvsnf1 mutant was defective in colonizing vascular tissue of infected plants. Cross and longitudinal sections of infected roots stained with fluorescein-labeled wheat germ agglutinin and Congo red showed that the Fvsnf1 mutant failed to colonize the xylem vessels and phloem tissue at later stages of infection. Quantification of the fungal biomass in inoculated roots further confirmed a reduced colonization of roots by the Fvsnf1 mutant when compared to the wild type. These findings suggest that FvSNF1 regulates the expression of CWDEs in F. virguliforme, thus affecting the virulence of the fungus on soybean.