Research Article

Carbon source-induced changes in the physiology of the cacao pathogen Moniliophthora perniciosa (Basidiomycetes) affect mycelial morphology and secretion of necrosis-inducing proteins

Published: August 25, 2009
Genet. Mol. Res. 8 (3) : 1035-1050 DOI: 10.4238/vol8-3gmr619

Abstract

Quantitative and qualitative relationships were found between secreted proteins and their activity, and the hyphal morphol­ogy of Moniliophthora perniciosa, the causal agent of witches’ broom disease in Theobroma cacao. This fungus was grown on fermentable and non-fermentable carbon sources; significant differences in myce­lial morphology were observed and correlated with the carbon source. A biological assay performed with Nicotiana tabacum leaves revealed that the necrosis-related activity of extracellular fungal proteins also differed with carbon source. There were clear differences in the type and quantity of the secreted proteins. In addition, the expression of the cacao molecular chaperone BiP increased after treatment with secreted proteins, suggesting a physiological response to the fungus secretome. We suggest that the carbon source-dependent energy metabolism of M. perniciosa results in physiological alterations in protein expression and secretion; these may affect not only M. perniciosa growth, but also its ability to express pathogenicity proteins.

Quantitative and qualitative relationships were found between secreted proteins and their activity, and the hyphal morphol­ogy of Moniliophthora perniciosa, the causal agent of witches’ broom disease in Theobroma cacao. This fungus was grown on fermentable and non-fermentable carbon sources; significant differences in myce­lial morphology were observed and correlated with the carbon source. A biological assay performed with Nicotiana tabacum leaves revealed that the necrosis-related activity of extracellular fungal proteins also differed with carbon source. There were clear differences in the type and quantity of the secreted proteins. In addition, the expression of the cacao molecular chaperone BiP increased after treatment with secreted proteins, suggesting a physiological response to the fungus secretome. We suggest that the carbon source-dependent energy metabolism of M. perniciosa results in physiological alterations in protein expression and secretion; these may affect not only M. perniciosa growth, but also its ability to express pathogenicity proteins.