Research Articles : Functional Roles of a Putative B``` Delta Regulatory Subunit and a Catalytic Subunit of Protein Phosphatase 2A in the Cereal Pathogen Fusarium graminearum
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Protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A), a family of serine/threonine protein phosphatases, plays an important role in balancing the phosphorylation status of cellular proteins for regulating diverse biological functions in eukaryotic organisms. Despite intensive studies in mammals, limited information on its role is available in filamentous fungi. Here, we investigated the functional roles of genes for a putative B` delta regulatory subunit (FgPP2AR) and a catalytic subunit (FgPP2AC) of PP2A in a filamentous ascomycete, Fusarium graminearum. Molecular characterization of an insertional mutant of this plant pathogenic fungus allowed us to identify the roles of FgPP2AR. Targeted gene replacement and complementation analyses demonstrated that the deletion of FgPP2AR, which was constitutively expressed in all growth stages, caused drastic changes in hyphal growth, conidia morphology/germination, gene expression for mycotoxin production, sexual development and pathogenicity. In particular, overproduction of aberrant cylindrical-shaped conidia is suggestive of arthroconidial induction in the ΔFgPP2AR strain, which has never been described in F. graminearum. In contrast, the ΔFgPP2AC strain was not significantly different from its wild-type progenitor in conidiation, trichothecene gene expression, and pathogenicity; however, it showed reduced hyphal growth and no perithecial formation. The double-deletion ΔFgPP2AR;ΔFgPP2AC strain had more severe defects than single-deletion strains in all examined phenotypes. Taken together, our results indicate that both the putative regulatory and catalytic subunits of PP2A are involved in various cellular processes for fungal development in F. graminearum.
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