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An atypical forkhead-containing transcription factor SsFKH1 is involved in sclerotial formation and is essential for pathogenicity in Sclerotinia sclerotiorum.

ABSTRACT: Sclerotinia sclerotiorum (Lib.) de Bary is a necrotrophic plant pathogen with a worldwide distribution. The sclerotia of S. sclerotiorum are pigmented multicellular structures formed from the aggregation of vegetative hyphae. These survival structures play a central role in the life and infection cycles of this pathogen. Here, we characterized an atypical forkhead (FKH)-box-containing protein, SsFKH1, involved in sclerotial development and virulence. To investigate the role of SsFkh1 in S. sclerotiorum, the partial sequence of SsFkh1 was cloned and RNA interference (RNAi)-based gene silencing was employed to alter the expression of SsFkh1. RNA-silenced mutants with significantly reduced SsFkh1 RNA levels exhibited slow hyphal growth and sclerotial developmental defects. In addition, the expression levels of a set of putative melanin biosynthesis-related laccase genes and a polyketide synthase-encoding gene were significantly down-regulated in silenced strains. Disease assays demonstrated that pathogenicity in RNAi-silenced strains was significantly compromised with the development of a smaller infection lesion on tomato leaves. Collectively, the results suggest that SsFkh1 is involved in hyphal growth, virulence and sclerotial formation in S. sclerotiorum.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6638265 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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