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The cyclase-associated protein ChCAP is important for regulation of hyphal growth, appressorial development, penetration, pathogenicity, conidiation, intracellular cAMP level, and stress tolerance in Colletotrichum higginsianum

Zhu, Wenjun, Xu, Xiaowen, Peng, Fang, Yan, Da-zhong, Zhang, Shaopeng, Xu, Ran, Wu, Jing, Li, Xin, Wei, Wei, Chen, Weidong
Plant science 2019 v.283 pp. 1-10
Arabidopsis, Colletotrichum higginsianum, anthracnose, appressoria, color, conidia, conidiation, crops, cyclic AMP, fungi, genes, host-pathogen relationships, hyphae, leaves, models, mutants, phenotype, plant pathogens, signal transduction, stress tolerance, turgor, virulence
Colletotrichum higginsianum causes anthracnose disease in a wide range of cruciferous crops and has been used as a model system to study plant–pathogen interactions and pathogenicity of hemibiotrophic plant pathogens. Conidiation, hyphae growth, appressorial development and appressorial penetration are significant steps during the infection process of C. higginsianum. However, the mechanisms of these important steps during infection remain incompletely understood. To further investigate the mechanisms of the plant–C. higginsianum interactions during infection progress, we characterized Cyclase-Associated Protein (ChCAP) gene. Deletion of the ChCAP gene resulted in reduction in conidiation and hyphal growth rate. The pathogenicity of ΔChCAP mutants was significantly reduced with much smaller lesion on the infected leaves compared to that of wild type strain with typically water-soaked and dark necrotic lesions on Arabidopsis leaves. Further study demonstrated that the appressorial formation rate, turgor pressure, penetration ability and switch from biotrophic to necrotrophic phases decreased obviously in ΔChCAP mutants, indicating that the attenuated pathogenicity of ΔChCAP mutants was due to these defective phenotypes. In addition, the ΔChCAP mutants sectored on PDA with abnormal, dark color, vesicle-like colony morphology and hyphae tip. Moreover, the ΔChCAP mutants had a reduced intracellular cAMP levels and exogenous cAMP can partially rescue the defects of ΔChCAP mutants in appressorial formation and penetration rate, but not in colony morphology, conidial shape and virulence, indicating that ChCAP is a key component in cAMP signaling pathway and likely play other roles in biology of C. higginsianum. In summary, our findings support the role of ChCAP in regulating conidiation, intracellular cAMP level, hyphal growth, appressorial formation, penetration ability and pathogenicity of this hemibiotrophic fungus.