Involvement of the anucleate primary sterigmata protein FgApsB in vegetative differentiation, asexual development, nuclear migration, and virulence in Fusarium graminearum

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Abstract

The protein ApsB has been shown to play critical roles in the migration and positioning of nuclei and in the development of conidiophores in Aspergillus nidulans. The functions of ApsB in Fusarium graminearum, a causal agent of Fusarium head blight in China, are largely unknown. In this study, we used the blastp program at the Broad Institute to identify FgApsB, an F. graminearum homolog of A. nidulansApsB. The functions of FgApsB were evaluated by constructing a deletion mutant of FgApsB, designated ΔFgApsB-28. Conidiation and mycelial growth rate are reduced in ΔFgApsB-28. The hyphae of ΔFgApsB-28 are thinner than those of the wild type and have a different branching angle. ΔFgApsB-28 exhibited reduced aerial hyphae formation, but increased production of rubrofusarin. Whereas nuclei are evenly distributed in germ tubes and hyphae of the wild type, they are clustered and irregularly distributed in ΔFgApsB-28. The mutant exhibited increased resistance to cell wall-damaging agents, but reduced virulence on flowering wheat heads, which is consistent with its reduced production of the toxin deoxynivalenol. All of the defects in ΔFgApsB-28 were restored by genetic complementation with the parental FgApsB gene. Taken together, the results indicate that FgApsB is important for vegetative differentiation, asexual development, nuclear migration, and virulence in F. graminearum.

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