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FVSTUA is a Key Regulator of Sporulation, Toxin Synthesis and Virulence in Fusarium verticillioides

posted on 2024-01-26, 23:51 authored by Toxicology & Mycotoxin Research Unit, USDA, ARS, USNPRC, R.B. Russell Research Center
Fusarium verticillioides is one of the most important pathogens of maize, causing rots and producing fumonisin mycotoxins during infection. Ingestion of fumonisin-contaminated corn causes underperformance and even fatal toxicity in livestock and is associated with neural tube birth defects, growth stunting in children and some cancers. StuA, an APSES class transcription factor, is commonly a major developmental transcriptional regulator in fungi. It has been shown to regulate crucial developmental processes, such as sporulation, virulence and mycotoxin synthesis among others. In this study, the role of FvSTUA in F. verticillioides was examined by characterizing ∆FvstuA deletion mutants functionally and transcriptomally. The deletion mutants exhibited slower vegetative growth, stunted aerial hyphae and significant reductions in microconidiation. Macroconidiation and hydrophobicity of the deletion strains were reduced as well. Additionally, fumonisin production by and virulence of the deletion mutants were greatly reduced. Transcriptomic analysis revealed downregulation of expression of several genes in the fumonisin and fusarin C biosynthetic clusters and differential expression of genes involved in conidiation and virulence. Nuclear localization of FvSTUA-tdTomato supported the likely function of FvSTUA as a transcription factor. Together, our results indicate that FvSTUA plays a global role in transcriptional regulation in F. verticillioides influencing morphogenesis, toxin production and virulence. Overall design: RNA-Seq of WT Fv strain (Fusarium verticillioides M3125) and three ∆FvstuA strains, grown in GYAM medium, was performed to understand the influence of FvStuA on sporulation and virulence in Fv.


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  • biota

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transcriptome; gene expression

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