Functional characterization of electron-transferring flavoprotein and its dehydrogenase required for fungal development and plant infection by the rice blast fungus

Sci Rep. 2016 Apr 26;6:24911. doi: 10.1038/srep24911.


Electron-transferring flavoprotein (ETF) and its dehydrogenase (ETFDH) are highly conserved electron carriers which mainly function in mitochondrial fatty acid β oxidation. Here, we report the identification and characterization of ETF α and β subunit encoding genes (ETFA and ETFB) and ETFDH encoding gene (ETFDH) in the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae. It was demonstrated that, by impacting fatty acid metabolism, ETF and ETFDH mutations led to severe growth and conidiation defects, which could be largely rescued by exogenous acetate or carbonate. Furthermore, although conidium germination and appressorium formation appeared to be normal in ETF and ETFDH mutants, most appressoria failed to penetrate the host epidermis due to low turgor pressure. The few appressoria that succeeded in penetration were severely restricted in invasive growth and consequently failed to cause disease. Moreover, ETF mutant etfb(-) induced ROS accumulation in infected host cells and exogenous antioxidant GSH accelerated mutant invading growth without increasing the penetration rate. In addition, mutant etfb(-) displayed elevated lipid body accumulation and reduced ATP synthesis. Taken together, ETF and ETFDH play an important role in fungal development and plant infection in M. oryzae by regulation of fatty acid metabolism, turgor establishment and induction of host ROS accumulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Electron-Transferring Flavoproteins / genetics*
  • Electron-Transferring Flavoproteins / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics*
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal
  • Genes, Fungal
  • Iron-Sulfur Proteins / genetics*
  • Iron-Sulfur Proteins / metabolism
  • Magnaporthe / pathogenicity
  • Magnaporthe / physiology*
  • Mutation
  • Oryza / microbiology*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidoreductases Acting on CH-NH Group Donors / genetics*
  • Oxidoreductases Acting on CH-NH Group Donors / metabolism
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Spores, Fungal / physiology


  • Electron-Transferring Flavoproteins
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fungal Proteins
  • Iron-Sulfur Proteins
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Oxidoreductases Acting on CH-NH Group Donors
  • electron-transferring-flavoprotein dehydrogenase