Thielaviopsis basicola is a hemibiotrophic root pathogen causing black root rot in a wide range of economically important crops. Our initial attempts to transform T. basicola using standard Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation (ATMT) protocols were unsuccessful. Successful transformation required the addition of V8 juice (to induce germination of T. basicola chlamydospores) and higher concentrations of acetosyringone in the co-cultivation medium, and of chlamydospores/endoconidia, A. tumefaciens cells during co-cultivation. With these modifications, two T. basicola strains were successfully transformed with the green (egfp) or red (AsRed) fluorescent protein genes. Chlamydospores/endoconidia transformed with the egfp gene exhibited strong green fluorescence, but their fluorescence became weaker as the germ tubes emerged. Transformants harbouring the AsRed gene displayed strong red fluorescence in both chlamydospores/endoconidia and germ tubes. Fluorescent microscopic observations of an AsRed-labelled strain colonizing roots of transgenic Nicotiana benthamiana plants, which express the actin filaments labelled with EGFP, at 24hours post inoculation showed varying levels of fungal germination and penetration. At this stage, the infection appeared to be biotrophic with the EGFP-labelled host actin filaments not being visibly degraded, even in host root cells in close contact with the hyphae. This is the first report of ATMT of T. basicola, and the use of an AsRed-labelled strain to directly observe the root infection process.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Infectious Diseases