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Overexpression of the Key Virulence Factor 1,3–1,4-β-d-Glucanase in the Endophytic Bacterium Bacillus halotolerans Y6 To Improve Verticillium Resistance in Cotton

Zhang, Lin, Li, Wenpeng, Tao, Ye, Zhao, Suya, Yao, Lunguang, Cai, Yingfan, Niu, Qiuhong
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2019 v.67 no.24 pp. 6828-6836
Gossypium barbadense, Gossypium hirsutum, Verticillium dahliae, Verticillium wilt, bacteria, beta-glucanase, biological control, cotton, crop yield, endophytes, enzyme activity, gene targeting, heterologous gene expression, mucus, mycelium, scanning electron microscopy, spore germination, spores, virulence, China
Verticillium wilt, caused by Verticillium dahliae, results in a dramatic loss of cotton yields in China. There is great potential for biocontrol to manage this destructive crop disease. In this study, we obtained the endophytic bacterium Bacillus halotolerans Y6 from Verticillium wilt-resistant cotton Gossypium barbadense Xinhai15; this bacterium possesses strong antagonistic abilities that inhibit V. dahliae spore germination and mycelial growth. The results of the enzyme activity assay, heterologous expression, and gene knockdown showed that the key virulence factor of Y6 for antagonizing V. dahliae was β-glucanase Bgy6. To facilitate field tests of biological control, we constructed the homologous Bgy6-overexpression strain OY6. Compared with the wild-type Y6 strain, the β-glucanase activity of OY6 was increased by 91.79%, and the inhibition rate of OY6 against V. dahliae V991 exceeded 96.7%. Moreover, the spores of V. dahliae V991 treated with OY6 showed more mucus and larger holes on the surface, as observed by scanning electron microscopy. Potting test results illustrated that both OY6 and Y6 could improve the resistance of upland cotton to Verticillium wilt. With the inoculation of V. dahliae V991 for 45 days, the disease index of G. hirsutum TM-1 treated with OY6 was only 8.33, which was significantly lower than that in plants treated with the wild-type strain Y6 (17.86) or the controls without bacteria (35.94). Our research provides a new idea for the control of Verticillium wilt in upland cotton via transforming endophytic bacteria of Verticillium wilt-resistant cotton and proposes a new solution to prevent and control Verticillium wilt.