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Fungal cell wall integrity is vital for fungal pathogenesis and stress tolerance. Calcofluor white (CFW), a cell wall perturbing agent, inhibits fungal growth by binding chitin in the cell wall. The roles of CFW sensitive proteins remain insufficiently understood in pathogenic fungi. We investigated two calcofluor white hypersensitive proteins, MaCwh1 and MaCwh43, in the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium acridum. Both Green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged MaCwh1 and MaCwh43 localized at the endoplasmic reticulum. Our results showed that the ΔMacwh1 and ΔMacwh43 mutants were more sensitive to CFW and ultraviolet irradiation stress compared to wild-type and complement strains. ΔMacwh1 had a stronger sensitivity to these stresses than ΔMacwh43. Both ΔMacwh1 and ΔMacwh43 mutants showed smoother cell wall surface, and drastically reduced chitin and mannose glycoprotein level in the cell wall and glycerol level in conidia compared to wild type. Insect bioassay showed significantly attenuated virulence for both ΔMacwh1 and ΔMacwh43 mutants with impaired ability in penetrating the host cuticle. RNA-Seq analysis revealed that a large number of genes presumably involved in cell wall construction and modification, pathogenicity and stress response were down-regulated in both ΔMacwh1 and ΔMacwh43 mutants. These findings demonstrate that both Macwh1 and Macwh43 affect the fungal cell wall ultrastructure and contribute to the stress tolerance and pest control potential in M. acrdium. © 2020 Society of Chemical Industry. © 2020 Society of Chemical Industry.


Xueling Su, Xi Yan, Xing Chen, Mei Guo, Yuxian Xia, Yueqing Cao. Calcofluor white hypersensitive proteins contribute to stress tolerance and pathogenicity in entomopathogenic fungus, Metarhizium acridum. Pest management science. 2021 Apr;77(4):1915-1924

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PMID: 33300230

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