A Three-Way Transcriptomic Interaction Study of a Biocontrol Agent (Clonostachys rosea), a Fungal Pathogen (Helminthosporium solani), and a Potato Host (Solanum tuberosum)

Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 2017 Aug;30(8):646-655. doi: 10.1094/MPMI-03-17-0062-R. Epub 2017 Jun 6.


Helminthosporium solani causes silver scurf, which affects the quality of potato. The biocontrol agent Clonostachys rosea greatly limited the severity of silver scurf symptoms and amount of H. solani genomic DNA in laboratory experiments. Transcriptomic analysis during interaction showed that H. solani gene expression was highly reduced when coinoculated with the biocontrol agent C. rosea, whereas gene expression of C. rosea was clearly boosted as a response to the pathogen. The most notable upregulated C. rosea genes were those encoding proteins involved in cellular response to oxidative stress, proteases, G-protein signaling, and the methyltransferase LaeA. The most notable potato response to both fungi was downregulation of defense-related genes and mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinases. At a later stage, this shifted, and most potato defense genes were turned on, especially those involved in terpenoid biosynthesis when H. solani was present. Some biocontrol-activated defense-related genes in potato were upregulated during early interaction with C. rosea alone that were not triggered by H. solani alone. Our results indicate that the reductions of silver scurf using C. rosea are probably due to a combination of mechanisms, including mycoparasitism, biocontrol-activated stimulation of plant defense mechanisms, microbial competition for nutrients, space, and antibiosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • DNA, Plant / metabolism
  • Down-Regulation / genetics
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genes, Plant
  • Helminthosporium / genetics*
  • Helminthosporium / growth & development
  • Hypocreales / genetics*
  • Pest Control, Biological*
  • Plant Tubers / genetics
  • RNA, Plant / metabolism
  • Solanum tuberosum / genetics*
  • Solanum tuberosum / microbiology*
  • Terpenes / metabolism
  • Transcriptome / genetics*
  • Up-Regulation / genetics


  • DNA, Plant
  • RNA, Plant
  • Terpenes