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Unbalanced roles of fungal aggressiveness and host cultivars in the establishment of the Fusarium head blight in bread wheat

Abstract : Fusarium head blight (FHB), caused mainly by Fusarium graminearum, is the foremost destructive disease of cereals worldwide. Effector-like molecules produced by F. graminearum play key roles in the infection process and are assumed to be one of the essential components of the pathogen's aggressiveness. However, their nature and role in the disease are still largely misunderstood. As a mean to provide relevant information about the molecular determinism of F. graminearum aggressiveness, we surveyed three F. graminearum strains on three wheat cultivars contrasted by their susceptibility to FHB. F. graminearum strains revealed large differences in aggressiveness which were mostly unchanged when facing hosts of contrasted susceptibility, suggesting that their behavior rely on intrinsic determinants. Surveying the fungal mass progress and the mycotoxin production rate in the spikes did not evidence any simple relationship with aggressiveness differences, while clues were found through a qualitative and quantitative characterization of the three strain proteomes established in planta especially with regards to early synthesized putative effectors. Independently of the wheat cultivar, the three F. graminearum strains produced systematically the same protein set during the infection but substantial differences in their abundance enabled the categorization of fungal aggressiveness. Overall, our findings show that the contrasts in F. graminearum aggressiveness were not based on the existence of strain-specific molecules but rather on the ability of the strain to ensure their sufficient accumulation. Protein abundance variance was mostly driven by the strain genetics and part was also influenced by the host cultivar but strain by cultivar interactions were marginally detected, depicting that strain-specific protein accumulations did not depend on the host cultivar. All these data provide new knowledge on fungal aggressiveness determinants and provide a resourceful repertoire of candidate effector proteins to guide further research.
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Contributor : Nathalie Bernard <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, June 8, 2021 - 5:03:46 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, June 10, 2021 - 3:16:46 AM


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Francis Fabre, Joerg Bormann, Serge Urbach, Sylvie Roche, Thierry Langin, et al.. Unbalanced roles of fungal aggressiveness and host cultivars in the establishment of the Fusarium head blight in bread wheat. Frontiers in Microbiology, Frontiers Media, 2019, 10, pp.1-14. ⟨10.3389/fmicb.2019.02857⟩. ⟨hal-02935809⟩



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