Functional analysis of hydrophobin genes in sexual development of Botrytis cinerea

R.B. Terhem, J.A.L. van Kan

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Hydrophobins are small secreted fungal proteins that play roles in growth and development of filamentous fungi, i.e. in the formation of aerial structures and the attachment of hyphae to hydrophobic surfaces. In Botrytis cinerea, three hydrophobin genes have been identified. Studies by Mosbach et al. (2011) showed that hydrophobins are neither involved in conferring surface hydrophobicity to conidia and aerial hyphae of B. cinerea, nor are they required for virulence. The present study investigated the role of hydrophobins in sclerotium and apothecium development. Expression analysis revealed high expression of the Bhp1 gene during different stages of apothecium development. Two Bhp1 splice variants were detected that differ by an internal stretch of 13 amino acid residues. Seven different mutants in which either a single, two or three hydrophobin genes were knocked out, as well as two wild type strains of opposite mating types, were characterized for sclerotium and apothecium development. No aberrant morphology was observed in sclerotium development when single deletion mutants in hydrophobin genes were analyzed. Sclerotia of double knock out mutant ¿Bhp1/¿Bhp3 and the triple knock out mutant, however, showed easily wettable phenotypes. For analyzing apothecium development, a reciprocal crossing scheme was setup. Morphological aberrations were observed in crosses with two hydrophobin mutants. When the double knock out mutant ¿Bhp1/¿Bhp2 and the triple knock out mutant were used as the maternal parent (sclerotia), and fertilized with wild type microconidia, the resulting apothecia were swollen, dark brown in color and had a blotched surface. After initially growing upwards toward the light source, the apothecia in many cases collapsed due to loss of structural integrity. Aberrant apothecium development was not observed in the reciprocal cross, when these same mutants were used as the paternal parent (microconidia). These results indicate that the presence of hydrophobins in maternal tissue is important for normal development of apothecia of B. cinerea.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-51
JournalFungal Genetics and Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • neurospora-crassa conidia
  • chestnut blight fungus
  • rodlet layer
  • cryphonectria-parasitica
  • schizophyllum-commune
  • aerial hyphae
  • cell-surface
  • expression
  • proteins
  • sc3

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