ALTERNARIOL AS VIRULENCE AND COLONIZATION FACTOR OF ALTERNARIA ALTERNATA DURING PLANT INFECTION
Alternaria alternata contaminates many crops and fruits. The mold produces a large variety of different mycotoxins, one of which is alternariol and its derivatives. We identified the gene cluster responsible for the biosynthesis. We show that alternariol is a colonization and virulence factor on tomato, apple and citrus.
ESSENTIALS TO STUDY PREDATOR-PREY INTERACTIONS OF A CARNIVOROUS FUNGUS
Reinhard Fischer and colleagues sequence the genome of Duddingtonia flagrans and establish molecular tools to study this important nematode-trapping fungus
Fatal attraction of Caenorhabditis elegans to predatory fungi through 6-methyl-salicylic acid
Salicylic acid is a phenolic phytohormone which controls plant growth and development. A methyl ester (MSA) derivative thereof is volatile and involved in plant-insect or plant–plant communication. Here we show that the nematode-trapping fungus Duddingtonia flagrans uses a methyl-salicylic acid isomer, 6-MSA as morphogen for spatiotemporal control of trap formation and as chemoattractant to lure Caenorhabditis elegans into fungal colonies. 6-MSA is the product of a polyketide synthase and an intermediate in the biosynthesis of arthrosporols. The polyketide synthase (ArtA), produces 6-MSA in hyphal tips, and is uncoupled from other enzymes required for the conversion of 6-MSA to arthrosporols, which are produced in older hyphae. 6-MSA and arthrosporols both block trap formation. The presence of nematodes inhibits 6-MSA and arthrosporol biosyntheses and thereby enables trap formation. 6-MSA and arthrosporols are thus morphogens with some functions similar to quorum-sensing molecules. We show that 6-MSA is important in interkingdom communication between fungi and nematodes.