Characterization of PP2A regulatory B subunits in Fusarium verticillioides
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Fusarium verticillioides is a pathogen of maize causing ear rot and stalk rot. The fungus also produces fumonisins, a group of mycotoxins linked to disorders in animals and humans. A cluster of genes, designated FUM genes, plays a key role in the synthesis of fumonisins. However, our understanding of the regulatory mechanism of fumonisin biosynthesis is limited. It was previously demonstrated that Cpp1, a protein phosphatase type 2A (PP2A) catalytic subunit, negatively regulates fumonisin production and is involved in cell shape maintenance. Typically, a structural A subunit, a catalytic C subunit, and a regulatory B subunit form PP2A heterotrimer complex. Significantly, there are two PP2A regulatory subunits in F. verticillioides genome, Ppr1 and Ppr2, which are homologous to Saccharomyces cerevisiae Cdc55 and Rts1, respectively. Based on preliminary data, I hypothesized that Ppr1 and Ppr2 are independently involved in the regulation of fumonisin biosynthesis and/or cell development, and to test this hypothesis I generated gene-deletion mutants of PPR1 and PPR2. The ppr1 deletion strain (Δppr1) resulted in drastic growth defect, but with increased microconidia production. The ppr2 deletion mutant strain (Δppr2) showed elevated fumonisin production similar to the Δcpp1 strain. Germinating Δppr1 conidia formed abnormally swollen cell with central septation. Δppr2 showed early hyphal branching during conidia germination. Results from this study suggest that two PP2A regulatory subunits in F. verticillioides carry out unique roles in regulating fumonisin biosynthesis and fungal development.
Shin, Joonhee (2010). Characterization of PP2A regulatory B subunits in Fusarium verticillioides. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from