Fusaristatin A production negatively affects the growth and aggressiveness of the wheat pathogen Fusarium pseudograminearum

Mohammed Khudhair, Kemal Kazan, Louise Thatcher, Friday Obanor, Anca Rusu, Jens Laurids Sørensen, Rasmus Dam Wollenberg, Alan McKay, Daniéle Giblot-Ducray, Steven Simpfendorfer, Elizabeth Aitken, Donald Max Gardiner*


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6 Citationer (Scopus)


Fusarium pseudograminearum (Fp), the causative fungal pathogen of the diseases Fusarium crown rot, is an important constraint to cereals production in many countries including Australia. Fp produces a number of secondary metabolites throughout its life cycle. One of these metabolites, the cyclic lipopeptide fusaristatin A, is encoded by a specific gene cluster containing a polyketide synthase and a three-module non-ribosomal peptide synthetase. However, a recent survey of Fp populations across Australia suggests that this cluster may only be present in a subset of isolates from Western Australia (WA). In this study, we screened 319 Fp isolates from WA and 110 Fp isolates from the Australian eastern states of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia to examine the distribution of this gene cluster among Australian Fp populations. The fusaristatin A gene cluster was found to be present in ~50% of Fp isolates from WA but completely absent in Fp isolates from eastern states. To determine its potential function, mutants of the fusaristatin A gene cluster were generated by disrupting the non-ribosomal peptide synthetase and polyketide synthase genes simultaneously in two different parental backgrounds. The mutants showed increased growth rates and were significantly more aggressive than their respective parental strains on wheat in crown rot pathogenicity assays. This suggested that fusaristatin A has a negative effect on fungal development and aggressiveness. The possible reasons for the geographically restricted presence of the fusaristatin A gene cluster and its role in fungal biology are discussed.

TidsskriftFungal Genetics and Biology
StatusUdgivet - 2020


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