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Septins are highly conserved GTP-binding proteins that function in cell cytokinesis, polarity and morphogenesis. To evaluate the roles of these proteins in inoculum health and disease, mutants deleted for each of five septin proteins (Cdc3, Cdc10, Cdc11, Cdc12, and Cdc100) were characterized in the ascomycete Cochliobolus heterostrophus for ability to develop asexual and sexual spores and for virulence to the host maize. Strains deleted for CDC3, CDC10, CDC11, and CDC12 genes showed significant changes in hyphal growth, and in development of conidia and ascospores compared to the wild-type strain. Conidia had dramatically reduced numbers of septa and rates of germination, while ascospore development was blocked in the meiotic process. Although asci were produced, wild-type ascospores were not. When equal numbers of conidia from wild type and mutants were used to inoculate maize, cdc10 mutants showed reduced virulence compared to the wild-type strain and other mutants. This reduced virulence was demonstrated to be correlated with lower germination rate of cdc10 mutant conidia. When adjusted for germination rate, virulence was equivalent to the wild-type strain. Double mutants (cdc3cdc10, cdc3cdc11) showed augmented reduced growth phenotypes. cdc100 mutants were wild type in all assays. Taken together, these findings indicate that all four conserved septin proteins play a major role in reproductive propagule formation and that mutants with deletions of CDC10 are reduced in virulence to the host maize. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Xianghui Zhang, Jonathan B González, B Gillian Turgeon. Septins are required for reproductive propagule development and virulence of the maize pathogen Cochliobolus heterostrophus. Fungal genetics and biology : FG & B. 2020 Feb;135:103291

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PMID: 31698077

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