Although multiple transcription factors (TFs) have been characterized via mutagenesis to understand their roles in controlling pathogenicity and infection-related development in Magnaporthe oryzae, the causal agent of rice blast, if and how forkhead-box (FOX) TFs contribute to these processes remain to be characterized. Four putative FOX TF genes were identified in the genome of M. oryzae, and phylogenetic analysis suggested that two of them (MoFKH1 and MoHCM1) correspond to Ascomycota-specific members of the FOX TF family while the others (MoFOX1 and MoFOX2) are Pezizomycotina-specific members. Deletion of MoFKH1 (ΔMofkh1) resulted in reduced mycelial growth and conidial germination, abnormal septation and stress response, and reduced virulence. Similarly, ΔMohcm1 exhibited reduced mycelial growth and conidial germination. Conidia of ΔMofkh1 and ΔMohcm1 were more sensitive to one or both of the cell cycle inhibitors hydroxyurea and benomyl, suggesting their role in cell cycle control. On the other hand, loss of MoFOX1 (ΔMofox1) did not show any noticeable changes in development, pathogenicity, and stress response. Deletion of MoFOX2 was not successful even after repeated attempts. Taken together, these results suggested that MoFKH1 and MoHCM1 are important in fungal development and that MoFKH1 is further implicated in pathogenicity and stress response in M. oryzae.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agronomy and Crop Science