Exploring Hormone Crosstalk in Fusarium verticillioidies Infection of Maize
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Fusarium verticillioides is a major pathogen of a broad range of field crops. Seeds infections lead to contamination by hazardous mycotoxins, such as fumonisin. Fumonisin is known to cause developmental defects in humans and animal when consumed. Previously, acs2 acs6, an ethylene biosynthetic mutant of maize has been found to be more resistant to Fusarium infection, colonization, and mycotoxin production. However, the molecular mechanism behind this phenomenon is poorly understood. Hormones, such as ethylene, regulate diverse processes during plant development and defenses against biotic and abiotic stresses. These potent signals have complex crosstalk among each other with positive and negative interactions occurring. A metabolomic analysis comparing acs2 acs6 double mutant and wild type revealed several metabolites to be differentially produced between mutant and wild type. Metabolites of interest were further explored by pharmacological and genetic approaches. Addition of exogenous auxin showed a direct effect on in vitro fungal growth. Available auxin deficient mutants of maize were exploited in a kernel bioassay and colonization was assessed through ergosterol quantification by high-performance liquid chromatography. Collectively, our results suggest that auxin plays a role ethylene-induced susceptibility.
Drab, Dillon (2013). Exploring Hormone Crosstalk in Fusarium verticillioidies Infection of Maize. Honors and Undergraduate Research. Available electronically from