Analysis of loss of pathogenicity mutants reveals that repeat-induced point mutations can occur in the Dothideomycete Leptosphaeria maculans

Fungal Genet Biol. 2003 Jun;39(1):31-7. doi: 10.1016/s1087-1845(02)00588-1.


Restriction enzyme mediated insertional mutagenesis using a plasmid, pUCATPH, that confers hygromycin resistance, generated loss-of-pathogenicity mutants of Leptosphaeria maculans, the fungus that causes blackleg disease of Brassica napus. Of 516 L. maculans transformants analysed, 12 were pathogenicity mutants. When eight of these mutants were crossed to an isolate that attacks B. napus, cosegregation of pUCATPH sequences and loss of pathogenicity was not observed, suggesting that these mutations were not linked to plasmid sequences. In seven of eight crosses analysed, progeny with the hygromycin resistance gene were hygromycin-sensitive. Sequence analysis of an amplified fragment of pUCATPH in six clones derived from one 'silenced' progeny showed mutation of GC to AT on one DNA strand, reminiscent of repeat-induced point mutation (RIP) in Neurospora crassa. One loss-of-pathogenicity mutant had pUCATPH inserted in the promoter of a gene with an open reading frame of 529 amino acids that had no database match. Reintroduction of a wild-type copy of the gene to this mutant restored the ability to form lesions on cotyledons of B. napus.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Ascomycota / genetics*
  • Ascomycota / pathogenicity
  • Base Sequence
  • Brassica napus / microbiology*
  • Cinnamates*
  • Drug Resistance, Fungal / genetics
  • Gene Silencing
  • Genes, Fungal*
  • Hygromycin B / analogs & derivatives*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional
  • Point Mutation
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Transformation, Genetic
  • Virulence / genetics


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Cinnamates
  • Hygromycin B
  • hygromycin A