ABC transporters of the wheat pathogen Mycosphaerella graminicola function as protectants against biotic and xenobiotic toxic compounds

L.H. Zwiers, I. Stergiopoulos, M.M.C. Gielkens, S.D. Goodall, M.A. de Waard

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We have studied the role of five ABC transporter genes (MgAtr to MgAtr5) from the wheat pathogen Mycosphaerella graminicola in multidrug resistance (MDR). Complementation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae mutants with the ABC transporter genes from M. graminicola showed that all the genes tested encode proteins that provide protection against chemically unrelated compounds, indicating that their products function as multidrug transporters with distinct but overlapping substrate specificities. Their substrate range in yeast includes fungicides, plant metabolites, antibiotics, and a mycotoxin derived from Fusarium graminearum (diacetoxyscirpenol). Transformants of M. graminicola in which individual ABC transporter genes were deleted or disrupted did not exhibit clear-cut phenotypes, probably due to the functional redundancy of transporters with overlapping substrate specificity. Independently generated MgAtr5 deletion mutants of M. graminicola showed an increase in sensitivity to the putative wheat defence compound resorcinol and to the grape phytoalexin resveratrol, suggesting a role for this transporter in protecting the fungus against plant defence compounds. Bioassays with antagonistic bacteria indicated that MgAtr2 provides protection against metabolites produced by Pseudomonas fluorescens and Burkholderia cepacia. In summary, our results show that ABC transporters from M. graminicola play a role in protection against toxic compounds of natural and artificial origin.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-507
JournalMolecular Genetics and Genomics
Publication statusPublished - 2003



  • atp-binding cassette
  • pleiotropic drug-resistance
  • saccharomyces-cerevisiae
  • phytoalexin resveratrol
  • pseudomonas-fluorescens
  • septoria-tritici
  • b resistance
  • gene encodes
  • in-vivo
  • efflux

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