Project description:Fusarium verticillioides, an important maize pathogen produces fumonisins and causes stalk and ear rot; thus, we are aimed to clarify its infection cycle by assessing enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) expression in stalk and ear rot strains. Maize seeds were inoculated with stable and strongly pathogenic transformants. To investigate the degree of infection, inoculated plants were observed under a stereo fluorescence microscope, and affected tissue strains were detected using PCR. We found that both transformants infected maize. Hyphae infected the plants from radical to the stem and extended to the ear and infected ear kernels caused a second infection. This process formed the infection cycle.
Project description:Fusarium verticillioides, which causes ear, kernel and stem rots, has been reported as the most prevalent species on maize worldwide. Kernel infection by F. verticillioides results in reduced seed yield and quality as well as fumonisin contamination, and may affect seedling traits like germination rate, entire plant seedling length and weight. Maize resistance to Fusarium is a quantitative and complex trait controlled by numerous genes with small effects. In the present work, a Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS) of traits related to Fusarium seedling rot was carried out in 230 lines of a maize association population using 226,446 SNP markers. Phenotypes were scored on artificially infected kernels applying the rolled towel assay screening method and three traits related to disease response were measured in inoculated and not-inoculated seedlings: plant seedling length (PL), plant seedling weight (PW) and germination rate (GERM). Overall, GWAS resulted in 42 SNPs significantly associated with the examined traits. Two and eleven SNPs were associated with PL in inoculated and not-inoculated samples, respectively. Additionally, six and one SNPs were associated with PW and GERM traits in not-inoculated kernels, and further nine and thirteen SNPs were associated to the same traits in inoculated kernels. Five genes containing the significant SNPs or physically closed to them were proposed for Fusarium resistance, and 18 out of 25 genes containing or adjacent to significant SNPs identified by GWAS in the current research co-localized within QTL regions previously reported for resistance to Fusarium seed rot, Fusarium ear rot and fumonisin accumulation. Furthermore, linkage disequilibrium analysis revealed an additional gene not directly observed by GWAS analysis. These findings could aid to better understand the complex interaction between maize and F. verticillioides.
Project description:The fungus Fusarium verticillioides can infect maize ears, causing Fusarium ear rot (FER) and contaminating the grain with fumonisins (FUM), which are harmful to humans and animals. Breeding for resistance to FER and FUM and post-harvest sorting of grain are two strategies for reducing FUM in the food system. Kernel and cob tissues have been previously associated with differential FER and FUM. Four recombinant inbred line families from the maize nested associated mapping population were grown and inoculated with F. verticillioides across four environments, and we evaluated the kernels for external and internal infection severity as well as FUM contamination. We also employed publicly available phenotypes on innate ear morphology to explore genetic relationships between ear architecture and resistance to FER and FUM. The four families revealed wide variation in external symptomatology at the phenotypic level. Kernel bulk density under inoculation was an accurate indicator of FUM levels. Genotypes with lower kernel density-under both inoculated and uninoculated conditions-and larger cobs were more susceptible to infection and FUM contamination. Quantitative trait locus (QTL) intervals could be classified as putatively resistance-specific and putatively shared for ear and resistance traits. Both types of QTL mapped in this study had substantial overlap with previously reported loci for resistance to FER and FUM. Ear morphology may be a component of resistance to F. verticillioides infection and FUM accumulation.
Project description:Maize ear rot caused by Fusarium verticillioides (Fv) is a major disease associated with reduced grain yield and ear quality. The use of biochar in management of ear rot has not been established. Efficacy of biochar aganst the disease was therefore investigated. Efficacy of biochars produced from poultry faecal waste (Bpw) and sawdust (Bsd) against pathogenic Fusarium verticillioides (Fv) causing ear rot in maize was determined using biochar treatment combinations (Bpw, Bsd, Bpw?+?Bsd, Bpw?+?Fv, Bsd?+?Fv, Bpw?+?Bsd?+?Fv, Fv and control) as soil amendments. Additional treatments consisted of fungicide (Cibaplus), poultry feacal waste (Pw), sawdust (Sd), Bpw?+?Fungicide, Bsd?+?Fungicide, Bpw?+?Bsd?+?Fungicide, Fungicide?+?Fv, and Pw?+?Sd. The Bpw and Pw at 1, 2 and 3?kg/m2 each, Bsd and Sd (0.50, 1.00 and 1.50?kg/m2) and fungicide (0.25, 0.50 and 1.00?g/L) were applied. Inoculation of pathogenic F. verticillioides strain was conducted at 7th week after planting and ear rot severity assessed at harvest. Residual effects of treatments were examined in the second season. Data gathered were subjected to ANOVA at ? 0.05. Maize treated with Sd, Bpw and Bpw?+?Fungicide scored 1-3% severity; Bpw?+?Bsd, Bsd, Fungicide, Pw?+?Sd, Bsd?+?Fv, Bsd?+?Fungicide, Bpw?+?Bsd?+?Fungicide, Bpw?+?Fv, Bpw?+?Bsd?+?Fv and Fungicide?+?Fv scored 4-10 %. Severity rating for control and Pw was 11-25 % while Fv was 26-50 %. Poultry faecal waste and Bpw based treatments recorded significant impact on growth characters across varying concentrations compared to other treatments. Poultry faecal waste biochar and sawdust biochar were effective in the management of Fusarium ear rot of maize and could be used as soil amendments.
Project description:Antifungal activity of rhamnolipids (RLs) has been widely studied against many plant pathogenic fungi, but not against Fusarium verticillioides, a major pathogen of maize (Zea mays L.). F. verticillioides causes stalk and ear rot of maize or asymptomatically colonizes the plant and ears resulting in moderate to heavy crop loss throughout the world. F. verticillioides produces fumonisin mycotoxins, reported carcinogens, which makes the contaminated ears unsuitable for consumption. In this study, the RL produced using glucose as sole carbon source was characterized by FTIR and LCMS analyses and its antifungal activity against F. verticillioides was evaluated in vitro on maize stalks and seeds. Further, the effect of RL on the mycelia of F. verticillioides was investigated by scanning electron microscopy which revealed visible damage to the mycelial structure as compared to control samples. In planta, treatment of maize seeds with a RL concentration of 50 mg l-1 resulted in improved biomass and fruiting compared to those of healthy control plants and complete suppression of characteristic disease symptoms and colonization of maize by F. verticillioides. The study highlights the potential of RLs to be used for an effective biocontrol strategy against colonization of maize plant by F. verticillioides.
Project description:Maize (Zea mays L.) is a staple crop providing food security to millions of people in sub Saharan Africa. Fusarium verticillioides, an important fungal pathogen, infects maize causing 'Fusarium Ear Rot' disease, which decreases maize kernel yield and the quality of the crop harvested. Currently, no African maize line is completely resistant to infection by F. verticillioides. This study investigated an African maize line, Zea mays CML144, infected with F. verticillioides. Analysis of morphological characteristics showed significant differences between mock-infected and infected plants. RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) was conducted on plants 14 days post-inoculation to identify differentially expressed genes (DEGs) involved in F. verticillioides infection. Analysis of RNA-seq data revealed DEGs that were both significantly up- and down-regulated in the infected samples compared to the mock-infected control. The maize TPS1 and cytochrome P450 genes were up-regulated, suggesting that kauralexins were involved in the CML144 defense response. This was substantiated by kauralexin analyses, which showed that kauralexins, belonging to class A and B, accumulated in infected maize tissue. Gene ontology terms relating to response to stimulus, chemical stimulus and carbohydrate metabolic processes were enriched, and the genes belonging to these GO-terms were down-regulated. Quantitative real-time PCR was performed on selected DEGs and measurement of phytoalexin accumulation validated the RNA-seq data and GO-analysis results. A comparison of DEGs from this study to DEGs found in F. verticillioides (ITEM 1744) infected susceptible (CO354) and resistant (CO441) maize genotypes in a previous study, matched 18 DEGs with 17 up-regulated and one down-regulated, respectively. This is the first transcriptomic study on the African maize line, CML144, in response to F. verticillioides infection.
Project description:Fusarium verticillioides is a pathogen of maize causing ear rot and stalk rot. The fungus also produces fumonisins, a group of mycotoxins linked to disorders in animals and humans. A cluster of genes, designated FUM genes, plays a key role in the synthesis of fumonisins. However, our understanding of the regulatory mechanism of fumonisin biosynthesis is still incomplete. We have demonstrated previously that Cpp1, a protein phosphatase type 2A (PP2A) catalytic subunit, negatively regulates fumonisin production and is involved in cell shape maintenance. In general, three PP2A subunits, structural A, regulatory B and catalytic C, make up a heterotrimer complex to perform regulatory functions. Significantly, we identified two PP2A regulatory subunits in the F. verticillioides genome, Ppr1 and Ppr2, which are homologous to Saccharomyces cerevisiae Cdc55 and Rts1, respectively. In this study, we hypothesized that Ppr1 and Ppr2 are involved in the regulation of fumonisin biosynthesis and/or cell development in F. verticillioides, and generated a series of mutants to determine the functional role of Ppr1 and Ppr2. The PPR1 deletion strain (Δppr1) resulted in drastic growth defects, but increased microconidia production. The PPR2 deletion mutant strain (Δppr2) showed elevated fumonisin production, similar to the Δcpp1 strain. Germinating Δppr1 conidia formed abnormally swollen cells with a central septation site, whereas Δppr2 showed early hyphal branching during conidia germination. A kernel rot assay showed that the mutants were slow to colonize kernels, but this is probably a result of growth defects rather than a virulence defect. Results from this study suggest that two PP2A regulatory subunits in F. verticillioides carry out distinct roles in the regulation of fumonisin biosynthesis and fungal development.
Project description:Fusarium verticillioides is the most commonly reported fungal species responsible for ear rot of maize which substantially reduces grain yield. It also results in a substantial accumulation of mycotoxins that give rise to toxic response when ingested by animals and humans. For inefficient control by chemical and agronomic measures, it thus becomes more desirable to select more resistant varieties. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the infection process remain poorly understood, which hampers the application of quantitative resistance in breeding programs. Here, we reveal the disease-resistance mechanism of the maize inbred line of BT-1 which displays high resistance to ear rot using RNA high throughput sequencing. By analyzing RNA-seq data from the BT-1 kernels before and after F. verticillioides inoculation, we found that transcript levels of genes associated with key pathways are dramatically changed compared with the control treatment. Differential gene expression in ear rot resistant and susceptible maize was confirmed by RNA microarray and qRT-PCR analyses. Further investigation suggests that the small heat shock protein family, some secondary metabolites, and the signaling pathways of abscisic acid, jasmonic acid, or salicylic acids (SA) may be involved in the pathogen-associated molecular pattern-triggered immunity against F. verticillioides. These data will not only provide new insights into the molecular resistant mechanisms against fungi invading, but may also result in the identification of key molecular factors associated with ear rot resistance in maize.
Project description:The ubiquitous ascomycete Fusarium verticillioides causes ear rot and stalk rot of maize, both of which reduce grain quality and yield. Additionally, F. verticillioides produces the mycotoxin fumonisin B1 (FB1) during infection of maize kernels, and thus potentially compromises human and animal health. The current knowledge is fragmentary regarding the regulation of FB1 biosynthesis, particularly when considering interplay with environmental factors such as nutrient availability. In this study, SDA1 of F. verticillioides, predicted to encode a Cys-2 His-2 zinc finger transcription factor, was shown to play a key role in catabolizing select carbon sources. Growth of the SDA1 knock-out mutant (?sda1) was completely inhibited when sorbitol was the sole carbon source and was severely impaired when exclusively provided mannitol or glycerol. Deletion of SDA1 unexpectedly increased FB1 biosynthesis, but reduced arabitol and mannitol biosynthesis, as compared to the wild-type progenitor. Trichoderma reesei ACE1, a regulator of cellulase and xylanase expression, complemented the F. verticillioides ?sda1 mutant, which indicates that Ace1 and Sda1 are functional orthologs. Taken together, the data indicate that Sda1 is a transcriptional regulator of carbon metabolism and toxin production in F. verticillioides.
Project description:Fusarium proliferatum, F. subglutinans, and F. verticillioides are known causes of ear and kernel rot in maize worldwide. In Mexico, only F. verticillioides and F. subglutinans, have been reported previously as causal agents of this disease. However, Fusarium isolates with different morphological characteristics to the species that are known to cause this disease were obtained in the Highland-Valley region of this country from symptomatic and symptomless ears of native and commercial maize genotypes. Moreover, while the morphological studies were not sufficient to identify the correct taxonomic position at the species level, analyses based in the Internal Transcribed Spacer region and the Nuclear Large Subunit Ribosomal partial sequences allowed for the identification of F. subglutinans, F. solani, and F. verticillioides, as well as four species (F. chlamydosporum, F. napiforme, F. poae, and F. pseudonygamai) that had not previously been reported to be associated with ear rot. In addition, F. napiforme and F. solani were absent from symptomless kernels. Phylogenetic analysis showed genetic changes in F. napiforme, and F. pseudonygamai isolates because they were not true clones, and probably constitute separate sibling species. The results of this study suggest that the biodiversity of Fusarium species involved in ear rot in Mexico is greater than that reported previously in other places in the world. This new knowledge will permit a better understanding of the relationship between all the species involved in ear rot disease and their relationship with maize.