Homologous expression of a mutated beta-tubulin gene does not confer benomyl resistance on Trichoderma virens


Benjamin A. Horwitz, Department of Biology, The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 32000, Israel (e-mail: horwitz@tx.technion.ac.il).


Aims: To clone the beta-tubulins and to induce resistance to benzimidazoles in the biocontrol fungus Trichoderma virens through site-directed mutagenesis.

Methods and Results: Two beta-tubulin genes have been cloned using PCR amplification followed by the screening of a T. virens cDNA library. The full-length cDNA clones, coding for 445 and 446 amino acids, have been designated as T. virens tub1 and T. virens tub2. A sequence alignment of these two tubulins with tubulins from other filamentous fungi has shown the presence of some unique amino acid sequences not found in those positions in other beta-tubulins. Constitutive expression of the tub2 gene with a histidine to tyrosine substitution at position 6 (known to impart benomyl/methyl benzimadazol-2-yl carbamate resistance in other fungi), under the Pgpd promoter of Aspergillus nidulans, did not impart resistance to benomyl.

Conclusions: The homologous expression of tub2 gene with a histidine to tyrosine mutation at position +6, which is known to impart benomyl tolerance in other fungi, does not impart resistance in T. virens.

Significance and Impact of the Study: Unlike other Trichoderma spp., T. virens, has been difficult to mutate for benomyl tolerance. The present study, through site-directed mutagenesis, shows that a mutation known to impart benomyl tolerance in T. viride and other fungi does not impart resistance in this fungus. Understanding the mechanisms of this phenomenon will have a profound impact in plant-disease management, as many plant pathogenic fungi develop resistance to this group of fungicides forcing its withdrawal after a short period of use.