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Unfolded Protein Response and Scaffold Independent Pheromone MAP Kinase Signaling Control Verticillium dahliae Growth, Development, and Plant Pathogenesis Starke, Jessica; Harting, Rebekka; Maurus, Isabel; Leonard, Miriam; Bremenkamp, Rica; Heimel, Kai; Kronstad, James Warren; Braus, Gerhard H.
Differentiation, growth, and virulence of the vascular plant pathogen Verticillium dahliae depend on a network of interconnected cellular signaling cascades. The transcription factor Hac1 of the endoplasmic reticulum-associated unfolded protein response (UPR) is required for initial root colonization, fungal growth, and vascular propagation by conidiation. Hac1 is essential for the formation of microsclerotia as long-time survival resting structures in the field. Single endoplasmic reticulum-associated enzymes for linoleic acid production as precursors for oxylipin signal molecules support fungal growth but not pathogenicity. Microsclerotia development, growth, and virulence further require the pheromone response mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway, but without the Ham5 scaffold function. The MAPK phosphatase Rok1 limits resting structure development of V.dahliae, but promotes growth, conidiation, and virulence. The interplay between UPR and MAPK signaling cascades includes several potential targets for fungal growth control for supporting disease management of the vascular pathogen V.dahliae.
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