FgIlv3a is crucial in branched-chain amino acid biosynthesis, vegetative differentiation, and virulence in Fusarium graminearum
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Dihydroxyacid dehydratase (DHAD), encoded by ILV3, catalyses the third step in the biosynthetic pathway of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which include isoleucine (Ile), leucine (Leu), and valine (Val). Enzymes involved in BCAA biosynthesis exist in bacteria, plants, and fungi but not in mammals and are therefore attractive targets for antimicrobial or herbicide development. In this study, three paralogous ILV3 genes (FgILV3A, FgILV3B, and FgILV3C) were identified in the genome of Fusarium graminearum, the causal agent of Fusarium head blight (FHB). Deletion of FgILV3A alone or combined with FgILV3B or FgILV3C indicated an important role for FgILV3A in BCAA biosynthesis. FgILV3A deletion mutants lost the ability to grow on medium lacking amino acids. Exogenous supplementation of 1 mM Ile and Val rescued the auxotrophy of ΔFgIlv3A, though 5 mM was required to recover the growth defects in ΔFgIlv3AB and ΔFgIlv3AC strains, indicating that FgIlv3b and FgIlv3c exhibit redundant but accessory roles with FgIlv3a in BCAA biosynthesis. The auxotrophy of ΔFgIlv3A resulted in pleiotropic defects in aerial hyphal growth, in conidial formation and germination, and in aurofusarin accumulation. In addition, the mutants showed reduced virulence and deoxynivalenol production. Overall, our study demonstrates that FgIlv3a is crucial for BCAA biosynthesis in F. graminearum and a candidate fungicide target for FHB management.
KeywordsFusarium graminearum dihydroxyacid dehydratase branched-chain amino acid biosynthesis paralogous FgILV3 genes virulence
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