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Very-long-chain Aldehydes Induce Appressorium Formation in Ascospores of the Wheat Powdery Mildew Fungus Blumeria Graminis

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Very-long-chain Aldehydes Induce Appressorium Formation in Ascospores of the Wheat Powdery Mildew Fungus Blumeria Graminis

Mo Zhu et al. Fungal Biol.

Abstract

Asexually produced conidia of the wheat powdery mildew fungus Blumeria graminis f. sp. tritici (Bgt) are known to perceive cuticular very-long-chain aldehydes as signal substances strongly stimulating germination and differentiation of infection structures in a concentration- and chain-length-dependent manner. Conidial germination and appressorium formation are widely prevented by the presence of free water on the host surface. However, sexually produced ascospores can differentiate immersed in water. Applying a Formvar®-based in vitro-system showed that ascospore appressorium formation was strongly induced by the presence of wheat leaf cuticular wax. Similar to conidia, ascospore appressorium formation is triggered by the presence of very-long-chain aldehydes in a chain-length-dependent manner with n-octacosanal as the most inducing aldehyde. Surface hydrophobicity positively affected ascospore germination but not appressorium formation. Ascospores required significantly more time to complete the differentiation of appressoria and exhibited a more distinct dependence on the availability of free water than their conidial counterparts. Unlike conidia, ascospores showed a more variable germination and differentiation pattern even with a single germ tube differentiating an appressorium. Despite these differences our results demonstrate that a host surface recognition principle based on cuticular very-long-chain aldehydes is a common feature of B. graminis f. sp. tritici ascospores and conidia.

Keywords: Cuticular wax; Differentiation; Germination; Prepenetration; Triticum aestivum.

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