Background: The Myb super-family of proteins contain a group of functionally diverse transcriptional activators found in plant, animal and fungus. Myb proteins are involved in cell proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis, and have crucial roles in telomeres. The purpose of this study was to characterize the biological function of Myb1 protein in the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae.
Results: We identified the Saccharomyces cerevisiae BAS1 homolog MYB1 in M. oryzae, named MoMyb1. MoMyb1 encodes a protein of 322 amino acids and has two SANT domains and is well conserved in various organisms. Targeted gene deletion of MoMYB1 resulted in a significant reduction in vegetative growth and showed defects in conidiation and conidiophore development. Quantitative RT-PCR analysis revealed that the transcription levels of several conidiophore-related genes were apparently decreased in the ΔMomyb1 mutant. Inoculation with mycelia mats displayed that the virulence of the ΔMomyb1 mutant was not changed on rice leaves but was non-pathogenic on rice roots in comparison to the wild type Guy11. In addition, ∆Momyb1 mutants showed increased resistance to osmotic stresses but more sensitive to cell wall stressor calcofluor white (CFW). Further analysis revealed that MoMyb1 has an important role in the cell wall biosynthesis pathway.
Conclusion: This study provides the evidence that MoMyb1 is a key regulator involved in conidiogenesis, stress response, cell wall integrity and pathogenesis on rice roots in the filamentous phytopathogen M. oryzae.