Deletion of Mid1, a putative stretch-activated calcium channel in Claviceps purpurea, affects vegetative growth, cell wall synthesis and virulence

Microbiology (Reading). 2009 Dec;155(Pt 12):3922-3933. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.030825-0. Epub 2009 Sep 17.


The putative Claviceps purpurea homologue of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae stretch-activated calcium ion channel Mid1 was investigated for its role in vegetative growth, differentiation and pathogenicity on rye (Secale cereale). Gene replacement mutants of Cl. purpurea mid1 were not affected in polar growth and branching in axenic culture but showed a significantly reduced growth rate. The growth defect could not be complemented by Ca(2+) supplementation, in contrast to mid1 mutants in yeast, but the altered sensitivity of the mutants to changes in external and internal Ca(2+) concentrations indicates some role of Mid1 in Ca(2+) homeostasis. The major effect of mid1 deletion, however, was the complete loss of virulence: infected rye plants showed no disease symptoms at all. Detailed analyses of in vitro-infected rye ovaries demonstrated that the Deltamid1 mutants had multiple apical branches and were unable to infect the host tissue, suggesting that Mid1 is essential for generating the necessary mechanical force for penetration. This is believed to be the first report of an essential role for a Mid1 homologue in the virulence of a plant-pathogenic fungus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Calcium Channels / genetics*
  • Calcium Channels / metabolism*
  • Cell Wall / metabolism
  • Claviceps / genetics*
  • Claviceps / growth & development
  • Claviceps / metabolism*
  • Claviceps / pathogenicity
  • DNA, Fungal / genetics
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics*
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gene Deletion
  • Genes, Fungal
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Osmotic Pressure
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology
  • Secale / microbiology
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Stress, Physiological
  • Virulence / genetics
  • Virulence / physiology


  • Calcium Channels
  • DNA, Fungal
  • Fungal Proteins
  • Calcium

Associated data

  • GENBANK/FM945328