Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: June 6, 2008
Publication Date: June 6, 2008
Citation: Brown, D.W. 2008. mRNA Isoforms in the Maize Endophyte/pathogen Fusarium verticillioides: And a Little Story about KP4 [abstract]. University of Munster, International Graduate School, Munster, Germany. p. 3. Technical Abstract: The filamentous fungus Fusarium verticillioides is a pathogen and endophyte of maize. At some stages of its life, it may synthesize a family of mycotoxins called fumonisins that may contaminate maize products. Ingestion of fumonisin is linked to a variety of animal diseases including cancer in some animals and can lead to substantial losses to farmers each year. The transcriptional and posttranscriptional regulatory mechanisms controlling fungal pathogenesis and toxin production are poorly understood. Analysis of over 87,000 F. verticillioides ESTs identified a total of 578 genes with one or more different mRNA splice forms and is equivalent to 6.3% of the genes represented. The most common isoforms found correspond to alternatively spliced transcripts. This presentation will describe efforts to catalogue the different forms and understand the functional impact the different forms have on protein synthesis. Alternative splicing (AS) in higher eukaryotes play a critical role in expanding gene function by increasing protein diversity and by affecting mRNA stability. The percentage of genes with ASFs in Fusarium and the ratio of different ASFs is substantially different than that found in mammals and plants. Preliminary analysis of predicted open reading frames found that 28% of the AS events could generate altered proteins while 54% introduce frame shifts or stop codons and 16% were in 5’ or 3’ non-coding sequences. Analysis of the Fusarium transcriptome indicate a complexity previously not described and the continued study of ASFs and their possible function will aid our understanding of fungal gene regulation. The presentation will conclude with a description of one ASF that shared significant similarity with antifungal genes originally characterized from a virus that infects Ustilago maydis.