DNA methylation mediates organisms' adaptations to environmental changes in a wide range of species. We investigated if a such a strategy is also adopted by Fusarium graminearum in regulating virulence toward its natural hosts. A virulent strain of this fungus was consecutively sub-cultured for 50 times (once a week) on potato dextrose agar. To assess the effect of subculturing on virulence, wheat seedlings and heads (cv. A416) were inoculated with subcultures (SC) 1, 23, and 50. SC50 was also used to re-infect (three times) wheat heads (SC50×3) to restore virulence. In vitro conidia production, colonies growth and secondary metabolites production were also determined for SC1, SC23, SC50, and SC50×3. Seedling stem base and head assays revealed a virulence decline of all subcultures, whereas virulence was restored in SC50×3. The same trend was observed in conidia production. The DNA isolated from SC50 and SC50×3 was subject to a methylation content-sensitive enzyme and double-digest, restriction-site-associated DNA technique (ddRAD-MCSeEd). DNA methylation analysis indicated 1024 genes, whose methylation levels changed in response to the inoculation on a healthy host after subculturing. Several of these genes are already known to be involved in virulence by functional analysis. These results demonstrate that the physiological shifts following sub-culturing have an impact on genomic DNA methylation levels and suggest that the ddRAD-MCSeEd approach can be an important tool for detecting genes potentially related to fungal virulence.
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|Titolo:||Identification of Putative Virulence Genes by DNA Methylation Studies in the Cereal Pathogen Fusarium graminearum|
MARCONI, Gianpiero [Investigation] (Corresponding)
|Data di pubblicazione:||2021|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|