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Sporulation of Stagonospra nodorum

Lowe, Rohan George Thomas (2006) Sporulation of Stagonospra nodorum. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Stagonospora nodorum is a necrotrophic fungal pathogen that is the causal agent of leaf and glume blotch on wheat. Very little is currently known about the molecular mechanisms required for pathogenicity of S. nodorum, despite its major impact on Australian agriculture. S. nodorum is a polycyclic pathogen. Rain-splashed pycnidiospores attach to and colonise wheat tissue and subsequently sporulate within 2-3 weeks. Several cycles of infection are needed to build up inoculum for the damaging infection of flag leaves and heads, sporulation is therefore a critical component of the infection cycle of S. nodorum; our aim is to determine the genetic and biochemical requirements for sporulation for development of control of the pathogen. Disease progression of S. nodorum on wheat cv. Amery was monitored by light microscopy to determine the time point when pycnidia development began. Early pycnidia development was evident 12 days post-infection. This information was used to guide a genomics and a metabolomics based approach to determine the requirements for sporulation in S. nodorum. The genomics approach utilised two cDNA libraries created from sporulating and non-sporulating cultures. EST frequency was used to determine highly expressed genes under the two developmental states. Gene expression from the most highly represented genes during sporulation were confirmed using quantitative PCR. A gene encoding an arabitol 4-dehydrogenase (Abd1), was mutagenised, in its absence sporulation was reduced by approximately 20%. The metabolomics approach isolated metabolites from both in planta infection and in vitro growth. Rapid changes in the abundance of metabolites were detected during the onset of sporulation. Key fungal metabolites identified include mannitol and trehalose. The concentration of both mannitol and trehalose increased dramatically in concert with pycnidia formation. Both mannitol and trehalose have also been linked to pathogenicity in filamentous fungi. Creation of deletion mutants of the gene encoding trehalose 6-phosphate synthase showed the synthesis of trehalose is required for full sporulation of S. nodorum in planta and in vitro.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Supervisor(s): Oliver, Richard
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