Hyphal anastomosis is a hallmark of filamentous fungi and plays vital roles including cellular homoeostasis, interhyphal communication and nutrient translocation. Here we identify a gene, FvSO, in Fusarium verticillioides, a filamentous ascomycete causing maize ear and stalk rot and producing fumonisin mycotoxins. FvSO, like its Neurospora crassa homologue SO, is required for vegetative hyphal fusion. It is also essential for normal vegetative growth, sporulation, and pathogenesis. FvSO encodes a predicted WW domain protein and shares 70 % protein sequence identity with N. crassa SO. FvSO deletion mutants (Δ FvSO) had abnormal distribution of conidia size, and conidia of Δ FvSO germinated much later and slower than wild type. Δ FvSO was deficient in hyphal anastomosis, had slower radial growth and produced less fungal biomass than wild type. Δ FvSO were unable to perform anastomosis, a key feature of filamentous fungi. Interestingly, production of fumonisin B1 by Δ FvSO was significantly reduced compared to wild type. Additionally, Δ FvSO was nonpathogenic to corn ears, stalks and seedlings, likely due to defective growth and development. In conclusion, FvSO is essential for vegetative hyphal fusion and is required for normal vegetative growth and sporulation, normal levels of fumonisin production and pathogenicity in F. verticillioides. The pleiotropic nature of Δ FvSO phenotypes suggests that FvSO is likely involved in certain signalling pathways that regulate multiple cellular functions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Infectious Diseases