Deoxynivalenol (DON), one of the trichothecene mycotoxins, is a worldwide contaminant of wheat and barley, especially when infected by Fusarium graminearum, the causative agent of an epidemic wheat disease called Fusarium Head Blight. Because of the high risk of DON ingestion and the possibility of frequent exposure, it is important to develop a rapid and highly sensitive method for easy identification and quantification of DON in grain samples. In this study, we have developed an indirect competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to detect DON in wheat. We conjugated 3-O-Hemisuccinyl-DON (3HS-DON) to Bovine serum albumin (BSA) and Ovalbumin (OVA), and obtained DON-specific mice antisera. The indirect competitive ELISA revealed that the optimal concentration of mice serum and the coated antigen was 1/1600 and 1/1500, respectively. The antiserum cross-reacted with the trichothecenes 3-acetyl-DON and T-2 toxin, reaching about 55.2% and 6.3%, respectively, as compared with DON. Results showed that the assay could be performed satisfactorily using an extraction buffer containing less than 15% methanol. Recovery from DON was 82–93% in grains. The linear detection range of DON in grains was between 0.01 and 100 μg/mL.
Deoxynivalenol (DON); immunoassay; ELISA; Fusarium graminearum
Fusarium head blight is a very important disease of small grain cereals with F. graminearum as one of the most important causal agents. It not only causes reduction in yield and quality but from a human and animal healthcare point of view, it produces mycotoxins such as deoxynivalenol (DON) which can accumulate to toxic levels. Little is known about external triggers influencing DON production.
In the present work, a combined in vivo/in vitro approach was used to test the effect of sub lethal fungicide treatments on DON production. Using a dilution series of prothioconazole, azoxystrobin and prothioconazole + fluoxastrobin, we demonstrated that sub lethal doses of prothioconazole coincide with an increase in DON production 48 h after fungicide treatment. In an artificial infection trial using wheat plants, the in vitro results of increased DON levels upon sub lethal prothioconazole application were confirmed illustrating the significance of these results from a practical point of view. In addition, further in vitro experiments revealed a timely hyperinduction of H2O2 production as fast as 4 h after amending cultures with prothioconazole. When applying H2O2 directly to germinating conidia, a similar induction of DON-production by F. graminearum was observed. The effect of sub lethal prothioconazole concentrations on DON production completely disappeared when applying catalase together with the fungicide.
These cumulative results suggest that H2O2 induced by sub lethal doses of the triazole fungicide prothioconazole acts as a trigger of DON biosynthesis. In a broader framework, this work clearly shows that DON production by the plant pathogen F. graminearum is the result of the interaction of fungal genomics and external environmental triggers.
Fusarium head blight (FHB; scab), primarily caused by Fusarium graminearum, is a devastating disease of wheat worldwide. FHB causes yield reductions and contamination of grains with trichothecene mycotoxins such as deoxynivalenol (DON). The genetic variation in existing wheat germplasm pools for FHB resistance is low and may not provide sufficient resistance to develop cultivars through traditional breeding approaches. Thus, genetic engineering provides an additional approach to enhance FHB resistance. The objectives of this study were to develop transgenic wheat expressing a barley class II chitinase and to test the transgenic lines against F. graminearum infection under greenhouse and field conditions. A barley class II chitinase gene was introduced into the spring wheat cultivar, Bobwhite, by biolistic bombardment. Seven transgenic lines were identified that expressed the chitinase transgene and exhibited enhanced Type II resistance in the greenhouse evaluations. These seven transgenic lines were tested under field conditions for percentage FHB severity, percentage visually scabby kernels (VSK), and DON accumulation. Two lines (C8 and C17) that exhibited high chitinase protein levels also showed reduced FHB severity and VSK compared to Bobwhite. One of the lines (C8) also exhibited reduced DON concentration compared with Bobwhite. These results showed that transgenic wheat expressing a barley class II chitinase exhibited enhanced resistance against F. graminearum in greenhouse and field conditions.
Chitinase; Fusarium graminearum; Fusarium head blight; transformation; wheat
Fusarium graminearum clade pathogens cause Fusarium head blight (FHB) or scab of wheat and other small cereal grains, producing different kinds of trichothecene mycotoxins that are detrimental to human and domestic animals. Type B trichothecene mycotoxins such as deoxynivalenol, 3-acetyldeoxynivalenol (3-AcDON), 15-acetyldeoxynivalenol (15-AcDON) and nivalenol (NIV) are the principal Fusarium mycotoxins reported in China, as well as in other countries. A genomic polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to predict chemotypes was developed based on the structural gene sequences of Tri13 genes involved in trichothecene mycotoxin biosynthesis pathways. A single pair of primers derived from the Tri13 genes detected a 583 bp fragment from 15-AcDON-chemotypes, a 644 bp fragment from 3-AcDON-chemotypes and an 859 bp fragment from NIV-producing strains. Fusarium strains from China, Nepal, USA and Europe were identified by this method, revealing their mycotoxin chemotypes identical to that obtained by chemical analyses of HPLC or GC/MS and other PCR assays. The mycotoxin chemotype-specific fragments were amplified from a highly variable region located in Tri13 genes with three deletions for 15-AcDON-chemotypes, two deletions for 3-AcDON-chemotypes and no deletion for NIV-producers. This PCR assay generated a single amplicon and thus should be more reliable than other PCR-based assays that showed the absence or presence of a PCR fragment since these assays may generate false-negative results. The results with strains from several different countries as well as from different hosts further indicated that this method should be globally applicable. This is a rapid, reliable and cost-effective method for the identification of type B trichothecene mycotoxin chemotypes in Fusarium species and food safety controls.
Fusarium graminearum clade; trichothecene; mycotoxin chemotype; 3-AcDON; 15-AcDON; NIV
Fusarium species cause Fusarium head blight (FHB) and other important diseases of cereals. The causal agents produce trichothecene mycotoxins such as deoxynivalenol (DON). The dicotyledonous model species Arabidopsis thaliana has been used to study Fusarium-host interactions but it is not ideal for model-to-crop translation. Brachypodium distachyon (Bd) has been proposed as a new monocotyledonous model species for functional genomic studies in grass species. This study aims to assess the interaction between the most prevalent FHB-causing Fusarium species and Bd in order to develop and exploit Bd as a genetic model for FHB and other Fusarium diseases of wheat.
The ability of Fusarium graminearum and Fusarium culmorum to infect a range of Bd tissues was examined in various bioassays which showed that both species can infect all Bd tissues examined, including intact foliar tissues. DON accumulated in infected spike tissues at levels similar to those of infected wheat spikes. Histological studies revealed details of infection, colonisation and host response and indicate that hair cells are important sites of infection. Susceptibility to Fusarium and DON was assessed in two Bd ecotypes and revealed variation in resistance between ecotypes.
Bd exhibits characteristics of susceptibility highly similar to those of wheat, including susceptibility to spread of disease in the spikelets. Bd is the first reported plant species to allow successful infection on intact foliar tissues by FHB-causing Fusarium species. DON appears to function as a virulence factor in Bd as it does in wheat. Bd is proposed as a valuable model for undertaking studies of Fusarium head blight and other Fusarium diseases of wheat.
Fusarium; Brachypodium distachyon; wheat; deoxynivalenol; model-to-crop translation; disease resistance; host-pathogen interaction
Gibberella zeae (asexual state Fusarium graminearum) is a major causal agent of wheat head blight and maize ear rot in North America and is responsible for contamination of grain with deoxynivalenol and related trichothecene mycotoxins. To identify additional trichothecene biosynthetic genes, cDNA libraries were prepared from fungal cultures under trichothecene-inducing conditions in culture and in planta. A gene designated LH1 that was highly expressed under these conditions exhibited only moderate (59%) similarity to known trichothecene biosynthetic cytochrome P450s. To determine the function of LH1, gene disruptants were produced and assessed for trichothecene production. Gene disruptants no longer produced 15-acetyldeoxynivalenol, which is oxygenated at carbon 7 (C-7) and C-8, but rather accumulated calonectrin and 3-deacetylcalonectrin, which are not oxygenated at either C-7 or C-8. These results indicate that gene LH1 encodes a cytochrome P450 responsible for oxygenation at one or both of these positions. Despite the relatively low level of DNA and amino acid sequence similarity between the two genes, LH1 from G. zeae is the probable homologue of Tri1, which encodes a cytochrome P450 required for C-8 oxygenation in F. sporotrichioides.
Deoxynivalenol (DON) is a mycotoxin produced by the plant pathogenic fungi Fusarium graminearum and F. culmorum. These and other closely related fungi cause a disease known as Fusarium head blight (FHB) in small grain cereals. Other mycotoxins produced by FHB-causing fungi include nivalenol, T-2 toxin, and zearalenone. Ingestion of mycotoxin-contaminated food and feed can lead to toxicosis in humans and animals, respectively. DON is the predominant and most economically important of these mycotoxins in the majority of small grain-producing regions of the world. This review examines the factors that influence DON accumulation in small grain cereals from an agricultural perspective. The occurrence and economic importance of FHB and DON in small grain cereals, epidemiological factors and cereal production practices that favor FHB development and DON accumulation in grain under field conditions, and regulatory/advisory standards for DON in food and feed are discussed. This information can be used to develop strategies that reduce DON accumulation in grain before harvest and to mitigate the human and animal health risks associated with DON contamination of food and feed.
Fusarium head blight; deoxynivalenol; small grain cereals; environmental factors; growth stage; inoculum dosage; pathogen aggressiveness; chemotype; lodging; tillage system; cultivar resistance; fungicide application; regulatory/advisory standards
The mycotoxin producing fungal pathogen Fusarium graminearum is the causal agent of Fusarium head blight (FHB) of small grain cereals in fields worldwide. Although F. graminearum is highly investigated by means of molecular genetics, detailed studies about hyphal development during initial infection stages are rare. In addition, the role of mycotoxins during initial infection stages of FHB is still unknown. Therefore, we investigated the infection strategy of the fungus on different floral organs of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) under real time conditions by constitutive expression of the dsRed reporter gene in a TRI5prom::GFP mutant. Additionally, trichothecene induction during infection was visualised with a green fluorescent protein (GFP) coupled TRI5 promoter. A tissue specific infection pattern and TRI5 induction were tested by using different floral organs of wheat. Through combination of bioimaging and electron microscopy infection structures were identified and characterised. In addition, the role of trichothecene production for initial infection was elucidated by a ΔTRI5-GFP reporter strain.
The present investigation demonstrates the formation of foot structures and compound appressoria by F. graminearum. All infection structures developed from epiphytic runner hyphae. Compound appressoria including lobate appressoria and infection cushions were observed on inoculated caryopses, paleas, lemmas, and glumes of susceptible and resistant wheat cultivars. A specific trichothecene induction in infection structures was demonstrated by different imaging techniques. Interestingly, a ΔTRI5-GFP mutant formed the same infection structures and exhibited a similar symptom development compared to the wild type and the TRI5prom::GFP mutant.
The different specialised infection structures of F. graminearum on wheat florets, as described in this study, indicate that the penetration strategy of this fungus is far more complex than postulated to date. We show that trichothecene biosynthesis is specifically induced in infection structures, but is neither necessary for their development nor for formation of primary symptoms on wheat.
Fusarium mycotoxins directly accumulated in grains during the infection of wheat and other cereal crops by Fusarium head blight (FHB) pathogens are detrimental to humans and domesticated animals. Prevention of the mycotoxins via the development of FHB-resistant varieties has been a challenge due to the scarcity of natural resistance against FHB pathogens. Various antibodies specific to Fusarium fungi and mycotoxins are widely used in immunoassays and antibody-mediated resistance in planta against Fusarium pathogens has been demonstrated. Antibodies fused to antifungal proteins have been shown to confer a very significantly enhanced Fusarium resistance in transgenic plants. Thus, antibody fusions hold great promise as an effective tool for the prevention of mycotoxin contaminations in cereal grains. This review highlights the utilization of protective antibodies derived from phage display to increase endogenous resistance of wheat to FHB pathogens and consequently to reduce mycotoxins in field. The role played by Fusarium-specific antibody in the resistance is also discussed.
Antibody fusion; Fusarium mycotoxins; single-chain variable fragment
Fusarium head blight (FHB) caused by Fusarium species like F. graminearum is a devastating disease of wheat (Triticum aestivum) worldwide. Mycotoxins such as deoxynivalenol produced by the fungus affect plant and animal health, and cause significant reductions of grain yield and quality. Resistant varieties are the only effective way to control this disease, but the molecular events leading to FHB resistance are still poorly understood. Transcriptional profiling was conducted for the winter wheat cultivars Dream (moderately resistant) and Lynx (susceptible). The gene expressions at 32 and 72 h after inoculation with Fusarium were used to trace possible defence mechanisms and associated genes. A comparative qPCR was carried out for selected genes to analyse the respective expression patterns in the resistant cultivars Dream and Sumai 3 (Chinese spring wheat).
Among 2,169 differentially expressed genes, two putative main defence mechanisms were found in the FHB-resistant Dream cultivar. Both are defined base on their specific mode of resistance. A non-specific mechanism was based on several defence genes probably induced by jasmonate and ethylene signalling, including lipid-transfer protein, thionin, defensin and GDSL-like lipase genes. Additionally, defence-related genes encoding jasmonate-regulated proteins were up-regulated in response to FHB. Another mechanism based on the targeted suppression of essential Fusarium virulence factors comprising proteases and mycotoxins was found to be an essential, induced defence of general relevance in wheat. Moreover, similar inductions upon fungal infection were frequently observed among FHB-responsive genes of both mechanisms in the cultivars Dream and Sumai 3.
Especially ABC transporter, UDP-glucosyltransferase, protease and protease inhibitor genes associated with the defence mechanism against fungal virulence factors are apparently active in different resistant genetic backgrounds, according to reports on other wheat cultivars and barley. This was further supported in our qPCR experiments on seven genes originating from this mechanism which revealed similar activities in the resistant cultivars Dream and Sumai 3. Finally, the combination of early-stage and steady-state induction was associated with resistance, while transcript induction generally occurred later and temporarily in the susceptible cultivars. The respective mechanisms are attractive for advanced studies aiming at new resistance and toxin management strategies.
Fusarium head blight (FHB) is a disease of cereal crops, which has a severe impact on wheat and barley production worldwide. Apart from reducing the yield and impairing grain quality, FHB leads to contamination of grain with toxic secondary metabolites (mycotoxins), which pose a health risk to humans and livestock. The Fusarium species primarily involved in FHB are F. graminearum and F. culmorum. A key prerequisite for a reduction in the incidence of FHB is an understanding of its epidemiology.
We describe a duplex-PCR-based method for the simultaneous detection of F. culmorum and F. graminearum in plant material. Species-specific PCR products are identified by melting curve analysis performed in a real-time thermocycler in the presence of the fluorescent dye SYBR Green I. In contrast to multiplex real-time PCR assays, the method does not use doubly labeled hybridization probes.
PCR with product differentiation by melting curve analysis offers a cost-effective means of qualitative analysis for the presence of F. culmorum and F. graminearum in plant material. This method is particularly suitable for epidemiological studies involving a large number of samples.
Fusarium head blight (FHB), caused by Fusarium graminearum, is a devastating disease of small grain cereal crops. FHB causes yield reductions and contamination of grain with trichothecene mycotoxins such as deoxynivalenol (DON). DON inhibits protein synthesis in eukaryotic cells and acts as a virulence factor during fungal pathogenesis, therefore resistance to DON is considered an important component of resistance against FHB. One mechanism of resistance to DON is conversion of DON to DON-3-O-glucoside (D3G). Previous studies showed that expression of the UDP-glucosyltransferase genes HvUGT13248 from barley and AtUGt73C5 (DOGT1) from Arabidopsis thaliana conferred DON resistance to yeast. Over-expression of AtUGt73C5 in Arabidopsis led to increased DON resistance of seedlings but also to dwarfing of transgenic plants due to the formation of brassinosteroid-glucosides. The objectives of this study were to develop transgenic Arabidopsis expressing HvUGT13248, to test for phenotypic changes in growth habit, and the response to DON. Transgenic lines that constitutively expressed the epitope-tagged HvUGT13248 protein exhibited increased resistance to DON in a seed germination assay and converted DON to D3G to a higher extent than the untransformed wild-type. By contrast to the over-expression of DOGT1 in Arabidopsis, which conjugated the brassinosteriod castasterone with a glucoside group resulting in a dwarf phenotype, expression of the barley HvUGT13248 gene did not lead to drastic morphological changes. Consistent with this observation, no castasterone-glucoside formation was detectable in yeast expressing the barley HvUGT13248 gene. This barley UGT is therefore a promising candidate for transgenic approaches aiming to increase DON and Fusarium resistance of crop plants without undesired collateral effects.
Deoxynivalenol; Fusarium head blight; trichothecenes; UDP-glucosyltransferase
We developed a PCR-based assay to quantify trichothecene-producing Fusarium based on primers derived from the trichodiene synthase gene (Tri5). The primers were tested against a range of fusarium head blight (FHB) (also known as scab) pathogens and found to amplify specifically a 260-bp product from 25 isolates belonging to six trichothecene-producing Fusarium species. Amounts of the trichothecene-producing Fusarium and the trichothecene mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (DON) in harvested grain from a field trial designed to test the efficacies of the fungicides metconazole, azoxystrobin, and tebuconazole to control FHB were quantified. No correlation was found between FHB severity and DON in harvested grain, but a good correlation existed between the amount of trichothecene-producing Fusarium and DON present within grain. Azoxystrobin did not affect levels of trichothecene-producing Fusarium compared with those of untreated controls. Metconazole and tebuconazole significantly reduced the amount of trichothecene-producing Fusarium in harvested grain. We hypothesize that the fungicides affected the relationship between FHB severity and the amount of DON in harvested grain by altering the proportion of trichothecene-producing Fusarium within the FHB disease complex and not by altering the rate of DON production. The Tri5 quantitative PCR assay will aid research directed towards reducing amounts of trichothecene mycotoxins in food and animal feed.
Several species of the filamentous fungus Fusarium colonize plants and produce toxic small molecules that contaminate agricultural products, rendering them unsuitable for consumption. Among the most destructive of these species is F. graminearum, which causes disease in wheat and barley and often infests the grain with harmful trichothecene mycotoxins. Synthesis of these secondary metabolites is induced during plant infection or in culture in response to chemical signals. Our results show that trichothecene biosynthesis involves a complex developmental process that includes dynamic changes in cell morphology and the biogenesis of novel subcellular structures. Two cytochrome P-450 oxygenases (Tri4p and Tri1p) involved in early and late steps in trichothecene biosynthesis were tagged with fluorescent proteins and shown to co-localize to vesicles we provisionally call “toxisomes.” Toxisomes, the inferred site of trichothecene biosynthesis, dynamically interact with motile vesicles containing a predicted major facilitator superfamily protein (Tri12p) previously implicated in trichothecene export and tolerance. The immediate isoprenoid precursor of trichothecenes is the primary metabolite farnesyl pyrophosphate. Changes occur in the cellular localization of the isoprenoid biosynthetic enzyme HMG CoA reductase when cultures non-induced for trichothecene biosynthesis are transferred to trichothecene biosynthesis inducing medium. Initially localized in the cellular endomembrane system, HMG CoA reductase, upon induction of trichothecene biosynthesis, increasingly is targeted to toxisomes. Metabolic pathways of primary and secondary metabolism thus may be coordinated and co-localized under conditions when trichothecene biosynthesis occurs.
Fusarium graminearum, the causal agent of Fusarium head blight in cereal crops, produces mycotoxins such as trichothecenes and zearalenone in infected plants. Here, we focused on the function of FgLaeA in F. graminearum, a homolog of Aspergillus nidulans LaeA encoding the global regulator for both secondary metabolism and sexual development. Prior to gene analysis, we constructed a novel luciferase reporter system consisting of a transgenic F. graminearum strain expressing a firefly luciferase gene under control of the promoter for either TRI6 or ZEB2 controlling the biosynthesis of these mycotoxins. Targeted deletion of FgLaeA led to a dramatic reduction of luminescence in reporter strains, indicating that FgLaeA controls the expression of these transcription factors in F. graminearum; reduced toxin accumulation was further confirmed by GC-MS analysis. Overexpression of FgLaeA caused the increased production of trichothecenes and additional metabolites. RNA seq-analysis revealed that gene member(s) belonging to ∼70% of total tentative gene clusters, which were previously proposed, were differentially expressed in the ΔFgLaeA strain. In addition, ΔFgLaeA strains exhibited an earlier induction of sexual fruiting body (perithecia) formation and drastically reduced disease symptoms in wheat, indicating that FgLaeA seems to negatively control perithecial induction, but positively control virulence toward the host plant. FgLaeA was constitutively expressed under both mycotoxin production and sexual development conditions. Overexpression of a GFP-FgLaeA fusion construct in the ΔFgLaeA strain restored all phenotypic changes to wild-type levels and led to constitutive expression of GFP in both nuclei and cytoplasm at different developmental stages. A split luciferase assay demonstrated that FgLaeA was able to interact with FgVeA, a homolog of A. nidulans veA. Taken together, these results demonstrate that FgLaeA, a member of putative FgVeA complex, controls secondary metabolism, sexual development, and virulence in F. graminearum, although the specific regulation pattern differs from that of LaeA in A. nidulans.
Fusarium species cause serious diseases in cereal staple food crops such as wheat and maize. Currently, the mechanisms underlying resistance to Fusarium-caused diseases are still largely unknown. In the present study, we employed a combined proteomic and transcriptomic approach to investigate wheat genes responding to F. graminearum infection that causes Fusarium head blight (FHB). We found a total of 163 genes and 37 proteins that were induced by infection. These genes and proteins were associated with signaling pathways mediated by salicylic acid (SA), jasmonic acid (JA), ethylene (ET), calcium ions, phosphatidic acid (PA), as well as with reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and scavenging, antimicrobial compound synthesis, detoxification, and cell wall fortification. We compared the time-course expression profiles between FHB-resistant Wangshuibai plants and susceptible Meh0106 mutant plants of a selected set of genes that are critical to the plants' resistance and defense reactions. A biphasic phenomenon was observed during the first 24 h after inoculation (hai) in the resistant plants. The SA and Ca2+ signaling pathways were activated within 6 hai followed by the JA mediated defense signaling activated around 12 hai. ET signaling was activated between these two phases. Genes for PA and ROS synthesis were induced during the SA and JA phases, respectively. The delayed activation of the SA defense pathway in the mutant was associated with its susceptibility. After F. graminearum infection, the endogenous contents of SA and JA in Wangshuibai and the mutant changed in a manner similar to the investigated genes corresponding to the individual pathways. A few genes for resistance-related cell modification and phytoalexin production were also identified. This study provided important clues for designing strategies to curb diseases caused by Fusarium.
Fusarium head blight (FHB) of wheat, caused by Fusarium graminearum and other Fusarium species, is a major disease problem for wheat production worldwide. To combat this problem, large-scale breeding efforts have been established. Although progress has been made through standard breeding approaches, the level of resistance attained is insufficient to withstand epidemic conditions. Genetic engineering provides an alternative approach to enhance the level of resistance. Many defense response genes are induced in wheat during F. graminearum infection and may play a role in reducing FHB. The objectives of this study were (1) to develop transgenic wheat overexpressing the defense response genes α-1-purothionin, thaumatin-like protein 1 (tlp-1), and β-1,3-glucanase; and (2) to test the resultant transgenic wheat lines against F. graminearum infection under greenhouse and field conditions. Using the wheat cultivar Bobwhite, we developed one, two, and four lines carrying the α-1-purothionin, tlp-1, and β-1,3-glucanase transgenes, respectively, that had statistically significant reductions in FHB severity in greenhouse evaluations. We tested these seven transgenic lines under field conditions for percent FHB disease severity, deoxynivalenol (DON) mycotoxin accumulation, and percent visually scabby kernels (VSK). Six of the seven lines differed from the nontransgenic parental Bobwhite line for at least one of the disease traits. A β-1,3-glucanase transgenic line had enhanced resistance, showing lower FHB severity, DON concentration, and percent VSK compared to Bobwhite. Taken together, the results showed that overexpression of defense response genes in wheat could enhance the FHB resistance in both greenhouse and field conditions.
Fusarium head blight; Wheat; Fusarium graminearum; Transgenic wheat; Triticum aestivum
Mycotoxin contamination associated with head blight of wheat and other grains caused by Fusarium culmorum and F. graminearum is a chronic threat to crop, human, and animal health throughout the world. One of the most important toxins in terms of human exposure is deoxynivalenol (DON) (formerly called vomitoxin), an inhibitor of protein synthesis with a broad spectrum of toxigenicity against animals. Certain Fusarium toxins have additional antimicrobial activity, and the phytotoxin fusaric acid has recently been shown to modulate fungus-bacterium interactions that affect plant health (Duffy and Défago, Phytopathology 87:1250-1257, 1997). The potential impact of DON on Fusarium competition with other microorganisms has not been described previously. Any competitive advantage conferred by DON would complicate efforts to control Fusarium during its saprophytic growth on crop residues that are left after harvest and constitute the primary inoculum reservoir for outbreaks in subsequent plantings. We examined the effect of the DON mycotoxin on ecological interactions between pathogenic Fusarium and Trichoderma atroviride strain P1, a competitor fungus with biocontrol activity against a wide range of plant diseases. Expression of the Trichoderma chitinase genes, ech42 and nag1, which contribute to biocontrol activity, was monitored in vitro and on crop residues of two maize cultivars by using goxA reporter gene fusions. We found that DON-producing F. culmorum and F. graminearum strains repressed expression of nag1-gox. DON-negative wild-type Fusarium strains and a DON-negative mutant with an insertional disruption in the tricothecene biosynthetic gene, tri5, had no effect on antagonist gene expression. The role of DON as the principal repressor above other pathogen factors was confirmed. Exposure of Trichoderma to synthetic DON or to a non-DON-producing Fusarium mutant resulted in the same level of nag1-gox repression as the level observed with DON-producing Fusarium. DON repression was specific for nag1-gox and had no effect, either positive or negative, on expression of another key chitinase gene, ech42. This is the first demonstration that a target pathogen down-regulates genes in a fungal biocontrol agent, and our results provide evidence that mycotoxins have a novel ecological function as factors in Fusarium competitiveness.
Trichothecenes are sesquiterpenoid mycotoxins associated with fusarium head blight (FHB) of cereals, with worldwide economic and health impacts. While various management strategies have been proposed to reduce the mycotoxin risk, breeding towards FHB-resistance appears to be the most effective means to manage the disease, and reduce trichothecene contamination of cereal-based food products. This review provides a brief summary of the trichothecene synthesis in Fusarium species, their toxicity in plants and humans, followed by the current methods of screening and breeding for resistance to FHB and trichothecene accumulation.
Trichothecene; fusarium head blight; cereal grain
Fusarium graminearum sensu stricto (s.s.) is an ubiquitous pathogen of cereals. The economic impact of Fusarium head blight (FHB) is characterized by crop losses and mycotoxin contamination. Our objective was to associate SNP diversity within candidate genes with phenotypic traits. A total of 77 F. graminearum s.s. isolates was tested for severity of fungal infection (= aggressiveness) and deoxynivalenol (DON) production in an inoculated field experiment at two locations in each of two years. For seven genes known to control fungal growth (MetAP1, Erf2) or DON production (TRI1, TRI5, TRI6 TRI10 and TRI14) single nucleotides polymorphic sites (SNPs) were determined and evaluated for the extent of linkage disequilibrium (LD). Associations of SNPs with both phenotypic traits were tested using linear mixed models.
Decay of LD was in most instances fast. Two neighboring SNPs in MetAP1 and one SNP in Erf2 were significantly (P < 0.05) associated with aggressiveness explaining proportions of genotypic variance (pG) of 25.6%, 0.5%, and 13.1%, respectively. One SNP in TRI1 was significantly associated with DON production (pG = 4.4).
We argue that using the published sequence information of Fusarium graminearum as a template to amplify comparative sequence parts of candidate genes is an effective method to detect quantitative trait loci. Our findings underline the potential of candidate gene association mapping approaches to identify functional SNPs underlying aggressiveness and DON production for F. graminearum s.s populations.
Aggressiveness; Association mapping; DON; Fusarium graminearum; FHB; Linkage disequilibrium; QTL; Triticum aestivum; SNP
Fusarium graminearum Schwabe (Gibberella zeae Schwein. Petch.) and F. culmorum W.G. Smith are major mycotoxin producers in small-grain cereals afflicted with Fusarium head blight (FHB). Real-time PCR (qPCR) is the method of choice for species-specific, quantitative estimation of fungal biomass in plant tissue. We demonstrated that increasing the amount of plant material used for DNA extraction to 0.5–1.0 g considerably reduced sampling error and improved the reproducibility of DNA yield. The costs of DNA extraction at different scales and with different methods (commercial kits versus cetyltrimethylammonium bromide-based protocol) and qPCR systems (doubly labeled hybridization probes versus SYBR Green) were compared. A cost-effective protocol for the quantification of F. graminearum and F. culmorum DNA in wheat grain and maize stalk debris based on DNA extraction from 0.5–1.0 g material and real-time PCR with SYBR Green fluorescence detection was developed.
Fusarium graminearum Schwabe; Fusarium culmorum W.G. Smith; real-time PCR; DNA extraction; sampling error; Fusarium head blight
Resistance in plants to pathogen attack can be qualitative or quantitative. For the latter, hundreds of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) have been identified, but the mechanisms of resistance are largely unknown. Integrated non-target metabolomics and proteomics, using high resolution hybrid mass spectrometry, were applied to identify the mechanisms of resistance governed by the fusarium head blight resistance locus, Fhb1, in the near isogenic lines derived from wheat genotype Nyubai.
The metabolomic and proteomic profiles were compared between the near isogenic lines (NIL) with resistant and susceptible alleles of Fhb1 upon F. graminearum or mock-inoculation. The resistance-related metabolites and proteins identified were mapped to metabolic pathways. Metabolites of the shunt phenylpropanoid pathway such as hydroxycinnamic acid amides, phenolic glucosides and flavonoids were induced only in the resistant NIL, or induced at higher abundances in resistant than in susceptible NIL, following pathogen inoculation. The identities of these metabolites were confirmed, with fragmentation patterns, using the high resolution LC-LTQ-Orbitrap. Concurrently, the enzymes of phenylpropanoid biosynthesis such as cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase, caffeoyl-CoA O-methyltransferase, caffeic acid O-methyltransferase, flavonoid O-methyltransferase, agmatine coumaroyltransferase and peroxidase were also up-regulated. Increased cell wall thickening due to deposition of hydroxycinnamic acid amides and flavonoids was confirmed by histo-chemical localization of the metabolites using confocal microscopy.
The present study demonstrates that the resistance in Fhb1 derived from the wheat genotype Nyubai is mainly associated with cell wall thickening due to deposition of hydroxycinnamic acid amides, phenolic glucosides and flavonoids, but not with the conversion of deoxynivalenol to less toxic deoxynivalenol 3-O-glucoside.
Fusarium head blight (FHB) is a devastating disease of wheat. Molecular mapping led to the identification of two major FHB resistance QTL, Fhb1 and Qfhs.ifa-5A. The actual function of these resistance genes is still unknown. The resistant line CM82036, the susceptible line Remus and two sister lines from the cross CM82036/Remus were analysed for gene expression. The sister lines show contrasting levels of FHB resistance due to the presence or absence of resistance alleles at Fhb1 and Qfhs.ifa-5A. At anthesis plants were challenged by Fusarium graminearum or water under controlled conditions. At six-time points after inoculation (0–72 h) gene expression of specific wheat floral tissue was analysed by cDNA-AFLPs in two biological replications. Altered expression patterns after F. graminearum inoculation were observed for 164 transcript-derived fragments (TDFs), corresponding to 3.4% of the analysed fragments. Fourteen TDFs, 0.28% of the total analysed fragments, displayed differential expression after fungal attack depending on the genotype; five of these TDFs were differentially expressed between the sister lines and are possibly associated with the possession of Fhb1 and Qfhs-ifa-5A and the FHB resistance level of the genotypes. Sequencing and annotation of these gene tags revealed homologies to a UDP-glucosyltransferase, phenylalanine ammonia-lyase, Dna-J like protein, pathogenesis-related family protein and to one gene with unknown function providing initial clues for guiding further functional studies on the resistance reaction of wheat against FHB. This work is the first report on differential gene expression between related, resistant and susceptible, wheat lines after F. graminearum attack.
Fungicide application is a key factor in the control of mycotoxin contamination in the harvested wheat grain. However, the practical results are often disappointing. In 2000-2004, 2006-2008 and 2007 and 2008, three experiments were made to test the efficacy of fungicide control on Fusarium Head Blight (FHB) in wheat and to find ways to improve control of the disease and toxin contamination. In a testing system we have used for 20 years, tebuconazole and tebuconazole + prothioconazole fungicides regularly reduced symptoms by about 80% with a correlating reduction in toxin contamination. Averages across the years normally show a correlation of r = 0.90 or higher. The stability differences (measured by the stability index) between the poorest and the best fungicides are about 10 or more times, differing slightly in mycotoxin accumulation, FHB index (severity) and Fusarium damaged kernels (FDK). The weak fungicides, like carbendazim, were effective only when no epidemic occurred or epidemic severity was at a very low level. Similar fungicide effects were seen on wheat cultivars which varied in FHB resistance. In this study, we found three fold differences in susceptibility to FHB between highly susceptible and moderately resistant cultivars when treated with fungicides. In the moderately resistant cultivars, about 50% of the fungicide treatments lowered the DON level below the regulatory limit. In the most susceptible cultivars, all fungicides failed to reduce mycotoxin levels low enough for grain acceptance, in spite of the fact that disease was significantly reduced. The results correlated well with the results of the large-scale field tests of fungicide application at the time of natural infection. The Turbo FloodJet nozzle reduced FHB incidence and DON contamination when compared to the TeeJet XR nozzle. Overall, the data suggest that significant decreases in FHB incidence and deoxynivalenol contamination in field situations are possible with proper fungicide applications. Additionally, small plot tests can be used to evaluate the quality of the field disease and toxin production.
Gibberellazeae; F.culmorum; scab; AUDPC; FDK; DON; prothioconazole; tebuconazole; carbendazim
The homothallic ascomycete fungus Gibberella zeae (anamorph: Fusarium graminearum) is a major toxigenic plant pathogen that causes head blight disease on small-grain cereals. The fungus produces the mycotoxins deoxynivalenol (DON) and zearalenone (ZEA) in infected hosts, posing a threat to human and animal health. Despite its agricultural and toxicological importance, the molecular mechanisms underlying its growth, development and virulence remain largely unknown. To better understand such mechanisms, we studied the heterotrimeric G proteins of G. zeae, which are known to control crucial signalling pathways that regulate various cellular and developmental responses in fungi. Three putative Gα subunits, GzGPA1, GzGPA2 and GzGPA3, and one Gβ subunit, GzGPB1, were identified in the F. graminearum genome. Deletion of GzGPA1, a homologue of the Aspergillus nidulans Gα gene fadA, resulted in female sterility and enhanced DON and ZEA production, suggesting that GzGPA1 is required for normal sexual reproduction and repression of toxin biosynthesis. The production of DON and ZEA was also enhanced in the GzGPB1 mutant, suggesting that both Gα GzGPA1 and Gβ GzGPB1 negatively control mycotoxin production. Deletion of GzGPA2, which encodes a Gα protein similar to A. nidulans GanB, caused reduced pathogenicity and increased chitin accumulation in the cell wall, implying that GzGPA2 has multiple functions. Our study shows that G. zeae heterotrimeric G protein subunits can regulate vegetative growth, sexual development, toxin production and pathogenicity.