Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/22/2009
Publication Date: 3/22/2009
Citation: Brown, D.W., Wicklow, D.T. 2009. Fusarium verticillioides: Talking to Friends and Enemies [abstract]. 25th Fungal Genetics Conference. Abstract No. 31. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Fusarium verticillioides is both a symptomless endophyte and a pathogen of maize. At some point, the fungus may synthesize fumonisins which have been linked to a variety of animal diseases including cancer in some animals. In order to minimize losses due to contaminated food or feed, we are working to understand the processes involved in fumonisin synthesis as well as how F. verticillioides interacts with maize and other fungi that infect maize. Fungi known to interact with F. verticillioides in maize include F. graminearum, Aspergillus flavus, A. niger, and Penicillium oxalicum. One important question we are exploring is: How do these fungi communicate with each other on maize? We hypothesize that small organic acids commonly associated with these fungi, and which diffuse in advance of infecting hyphae, may play a role in communication. In this study, we exposed F. verticillioides to fusaric, kojic, citric, and oxalic acid and examined transcriptional changes by microarray analysis. We identified a number of up- and down-regulated genes of which some were similarly affected by all four acids as well as others that were uniquely affected by each acid. The transcriptional differences observed clearly show that F. verticillioides is differentially responding to the different acids. This supports our hypothesis that these acids serve as signaling molecules informing F. verticillioides of its immediate neighbors which enables the endophyte to tailor an effective response.