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A fungal cell wall integrity-associated MAP kinase cascade in Coniothyrium minitans is required for conidiation and mycoparasitism

Zeng, Fanyun, Gong, Xiaoyan, Hamid, Mahammad Imran, Fu, Yanping, Jiatao, Xie, Cheng, Jiasen, Li, Guoqing, Jiang, Daohong
Fungal genetics and biology 2012 v.49 no.5 pp. 347-357
Coniothyrium minitans, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, autolysis, biological control agents, cell walls, conidia, conidiation, fungi, hypersensitivity, hyphae, mitogen-activated protein kinase, mutants, phenotype, pycnidia, sclerotia, transfer DNA, viability
Coniothyrium minitans is an important biocontrol agent against Sclerotinia diseases. Previously, a conidiation-deficient mutant ZS-1T1000 was screened out from a T-DNA insertional library of C. minitans. CmBCK1, encoding MAP kinase kinase kinase and homologous to BCK1 of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, was disrupted by T-DNA insertion in this mutant. Targeted disruption of CmBCK1 led to the mutants undergoing autolysis and displaying hypersensitivity to the cell wall-degrading enzymes. The △CmBCK1 mutants lost the ability to produce pycnidia and conidia compared to the wild-type strain ZS-1. △CmBCK1 mutants could grow on the surface of sclerotia of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum but not form conidia, which resulted in much lower ability to reduce the viability of sclerotia of S. sclerotiorum. Furthermore, CmSlt2, a homolog of Slt2 encoding cell wall integrity-related MAP kinase and up-regulated by BCK1 in S. cerevisiae, was identified and targeted disrupted. The △CmSlt2 mutants had a similar phenotype to the △CmBCK1 mutants. The △CmSlt2 mutants also had autolytic aerial hyphae, hypersensitivity to cell wall-degrading enzymes, lack of conidiation and reduction of sclerotial mycoparasitism. Taken together, our results suggest that CmBCK1 and CmSlt2 are involved in conidiation and the hyperparasitic activities of C. minitans.