A Major Effect Gene Controlling Development and Pathogenicity in Botrytis cinerea Identified Through Genetic Analysis of Natural Mycelial Non-pathogenic Isolates

Wilson Acosta Morel, Francisco Anta Fernández, Riccardo Baroncelli, Sioly Becerra, Michael R. Thon, Jan A.L. van Kan, José María Díaz-Mínguez, Ernesto Pérez Benito*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Botrytis cinerea is a necrotrophic plant pathogenic fungus with a wide host range. Its natural populations are phenotypically and genetically very diverse. A survey of B. cinerea isolates causing gray mold in the vineyards of Castilla y León, Spain, was carried out and as a result eight non-pathogenic natural variants were identified. Phenotypically these isolates belong to two groups. The first group consists of seven isolates displaying a characteristic mycelial morphotype, which do not sporulate and is unable to produce sclerotia. The second group includes one isolate, which sporulates profusely and does not produce sclerotia. All of them are unresponsive to light. Crosses between a representative mycelial non-pathogenic isolate and a highly aggressive field isolate revealed that the phenotypic differences regarding pathogenicity, sporulation and production of sclerotia cosegregated in the progeny and are determined by a single genetic locus. By applying a bulked segregant analysis strategy based on the comparison of the two parental genomes the locus was mapped to a 110 kb region in chromosome 4. Subcloning and transformation experiments revealed that the polymorphism is an SNP affecting gene Bcin04g03490 in the reference genome of B. cinerea. Genetic complementation analysis and sequencing of the Bcin04g03490 alleles demonstrated that the mutations in the mycelial isolates are allelic and informed about the nature of the alterations causing the phenotypes observed. Integration of the allele of the pathogenic isolate into the non-pathogenic isolate fully restored the ability to infect, to sporulate and to produce sclerotia. Therefore, it is concluded that a major effect gene controlling differentiation and developmental processes as well as pathogenicity has been identified in B. cinerea. It encodes a protein with a GAL4-like Zn(II)2Cys6 binuclear cluster DNA binding domain and an acetyltransferase domain, suggesting a role in regulation of gene expression through a mechanism involving acetylation of specific substrates.

Original languageEnglish
Article number663870
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Volume12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Apr 2021

Keywords

  • acetyl transferase
  • bulked segregant analysis
  • DNA binding domain
  • genetic complementation
  • gray mold

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