Distinct roles for different autophagy-associated genes in the virulence of the fungal wheat pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Child, H. T., Deeks, M. J., Haynes, K., Rudd, J. J. and Bates, S. 2022. Distinct roles for different autophagy-associated genes in the virulence of the fungal wheat pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici. Fungal Genetics and Biology. 163, p. 103748. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fgb.2022.103748

AuthorsChild, H. T., Deeks, M. J., Haynes, K., Rudd, J. J. and Bates, S.
Abstract

The fungal wheat pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici causes major crop losses as the causal agent of the disease Septoria tritici blotch. The infection cycle of Z. tritici displays two distinct phases, beginning with an extended symptomless phase of 1–2 weeks, before the fungus induces host cell death and tissue collapse in the leaf. Recent evidence suggests that the fungus uses little host-derived nutrition during asymptomatic colonisation, raising questions as to the sources of energy required for this initial growth phase. Autophagy is crucial for the pathogenicity of other fungal plant pathogens through its roles in supporting cellular differentiation and growth under starvation. Here we characterised the contributions of the autophagy genes ZtATG1 and ZtATG8 to the development and virulence of Z. tritici. Deletion of ZtATG1 led to inhibition of autophagy but had no impact on starvation-induced hyphal differentiation or virulence, suggesting that autophagy is not required for Z. tritici pathogenicity. Contrastingly, ZtATG8 deletion delayed the transition to necrotrophic growth, despite having no influence on filamentous growth under starvation, pointing to an autophagy-independent role of ZtATG8 during Z. tritici infection. To our knowledge, this study represents the first to find autophagy not to contribute to the virulence of a fungal plant pathogen, and reveals novel roles for different autophagy-associated proteins in Z. tritici.

KeywordsAutophagy; Plant pathogen; Virulence; Wheat; Zymoseptoria tritici
Year of Publication2022
JournalFungal Genetics and Biology
Journal citation163, p. 103748
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fgb.2022.103748
Web address (URL)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1087184522000937?utm_campaign=STMJ_AUTH_SERV_PUBLISHED&utm_medium=email&utm_acid=72188367&SIS_ID=&dgcid=STMJ_AUTH_SERV_PUBLISHED&CMX_ID=&utm_in=DM311474&utm_source=AC_
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderRothamsted Research
Funder project or codeDesigning Future Wheat (DFW) [ISPG]
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online26 Oct 2022
Publication process dates
Accepted13 Oct 2022
PublisherAcademic Press Inc Elsevier Science
ISSN1087-1845

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