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1.  Light Influences How the Fungal Toxin Deoxynivalenol Affects Plant Cell Death and Defense Responses 
Toxins  2014;6(2):679-692.
The Fusarium mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (DON) can cause cell death in wheat (Triticum aestivum), but can also reduce the level of cell death caused by heat shock in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) cell cultures. We show that 10 μg mL−1 DON does not cause cell death in Arabidopsis cell cultures, and its ability to retard heat-induced cell death is light dependent. Under dark conditions, it actually promoted heat-induced cell death. Wheat cultivars differ in their ability to resist this toxin, and we investigated if the ability of wheat to mount defense responses was light dependent. We found no evidence that light affected the transcription of defense genes in DON-treated roots of seedlings of two wheat cultivars, namely cultivar CM82036 that is resistant to DON-induced bleaching of spikelet tissue and cultivar Remus that is not. However, DON treatment of roots led to genotype-dependent and light-enhanced defense transcript accumulation in coleoptiles. Wheat transcripts encoding a phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL) gene (previously associated with Fusarium resistance), non-expressor of pathogenesis-related genes-1 (NPR1) and a class III plant peroxidase (POX) were DON-upregulated in coleoptiles of wheat cultivar CM82036 but not of cultivar Remus, and DON-upregulation of these transcripts in cultivar CM82036 was light enhanced. Light and genotype-dependent differences in the DON/DON derivative content of coleoptiles were also observed. These results, coupled with previous findings regarding the effect of DON on plants, show that light either directly or indirectly influences the plant defense responses to DON.
doi:10.3390/toxins6020679
PMCID: PMC3942759  PMID: 24561479
Arabidopsis; β-1,3-glucanase; cell death; Fusarium; light; non-expressor of pathogenesis-related genes-1 (NPR1); peroxidase; phenylalanine ammonia lyase; wheat
2.  Exploiting the inter-strain divergence of Fusarium oxysporum for microbial bioprocessing of lignocellulose to bioethanol 
AMB Express  2012;2:16.
Microbial bioprocessing of lignocellulose to bioethanol still poses challenges in terms of substrate catabolism. A targeted evolution-based study was undertaken to determine if inter-strain microbial variability could be exploited for bioprocessing of lignocellulose to bioethanol. The microorganism studied was Fusarium oxysporum because of its capacity to both saccharify and ferment lignocellulose. Strains of F. oxysporum were isolated and assessed for their genetic variability. Using optimised solid-state straw culture conditions, experiments were conducted that compared fungal strains in terms of their growth, enzyme activities (cellulases, xylanase and alcohol dehydrogenase) and yield of bioethanol and the undesirable by-products acetic acid and xylitol. Significant inter-strain divergence was recorded in regards to the capacity of studied F. oxysporum strains to produce alcohol from untreated straw. No correlation was observed between bioethanol synthesis and either the biomass production or microbial enzyme activity. A strong correlation was observed between both acetic acid and xylitol production and bioethanol yield. The level of diversity recorded in the alcohol production capacity among closely-related microorganism means that a targeted screening of populations of selected microbial species could greatly improve bioprocessing yields, in terms of providing both new host strains and candidate genes for the bioethanol industry.
doi:10.1186/2191-0855-2-16
PMCID: PMC3366892  PMID: 22420408
Fungal biomass; Endoglucanase; Endoxylanase; Consolidated bioprocessing; Solid-state cultivation

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