The mevalonate pathway is an efficient biosynthesis pathway that yields isoprenoids for promoting different crucial cellular functions, including ergosterol synthesis and growth regulation. Acetoacetyl-CoA acetyltransferase (EC188.8.131.52) is the first major catalytic enzyme constituting the mevalonate pathway and catalyzes the transformation of Acetoacetyl-CoA from two molecules of acetyl-CoA enroute ergosterol production in fungi. We identified two homologous genes encoding Acetoacetyl-CoA acetyltransferase (MoAcat1 and MoAcat2) in Magnaporthe oryzae, the rice blast fungus. Phylogenetic analysis indicates these two genes have different evolutionary history. We subsequently, conducted targeted gene deletion using homologous recombination technology to ascertain the unique roles of the two MoAcat homologues during the fungal morphogenesis and pathogenesis. The findings from our investigations showed that the activity of MoAcat1 promoted virulence in the rice blast fungus as such, the ΔMoacat1 mutants generated exhibited defect in virulence, whilst ΔMoacat1 mutants did not portray growth defects. ΔMoacat2 mutants on the other hand were characterized by reduction in growth and virulence. Furthermore, MoAcat1 and MoAcat2 showed different expression patterns and subcellular localizations in M. oryzae. From our investigations we came to the conclusion that, different subcellular localization contributes to the diverse functions of MoAcat1 and MoAcat2, which helps the successful establishment of blast disease by promoting efficient development of cell morphology and effective colonization of host tissue.
Keywords: Acetoacetyl-CoA acetyltransferase; Magnaporthe oryzae; Mevalonate; Morphogenesis and pathogenesis.
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