Reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and breakdown have been studied in detail in plant-pathogenic fungi, including the rice blast fungus, Magnaporthe oryzae; however, the examination of the dynamic process of ROS production in real time has proven to be challenging. We resynthesized an existing ROS sensor, called HyPer, to exhibit optimized codon bias for fungi, specifically Neurospora crassa, and used a combination of microscopy and plate reader assays to determine whether this construct could detect changes in fungal ROS during the plant infection process. Using confocal microscopy, we were able to visualize fluctuating ROS levels during the formation of an appressorium on an artificial hydrophobic surface, as well as during infection on host leaves. Using the plate reader, we were able to ascertain measurements of hydrogen peroxide (H2 O2 ) levels in conidia as detected by the MoHyPer sensor. Overall, by the optimization of codon usage for N. crassa and related fungal genomes, the MoHyPer sensor can be used as a robust, dynamic and powerful tool to both monitor and quantify H2 O2 dynamics in real time during important stages of the plant infection process.
Keywords: HyPer sensor; Magnaporthe oryzae; appressorium; codon bias; confocal imaging; reactive oxygen species; rice blast fungus.
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