The group III two-component hybrid histidine kinase MoHik1p in the filamentous fungus Magnaporthe oryzae is known to be a sensor for external osmotic stress and essential for the fungicidal activity of the phenylpyrrole fludioxonil. The mode of action of fludioxonil has not yet been completely clarified but rather assumed to hyperactivate the high osmolarity glycerol (HOG) signaling pathway. To date, not much is known about the detailed molecular mechanism of how osmotic stress is detected or fungicidal activity is initiated within the HOG pathway. The molecular mechanism of signaling was studied using a mutant strain in which the HisKA signaling domain was modified by an amino acid change of histidine H736 to alanine A736. We found that MoHik1pH736A is as resistant to fludioxonil but not as sensitive to osmotic stress as the null mutant ∆Mohik1. H736 is required for fludioxonil action but is not essential for sensing sorbitol stress. Consequently, this report provides evidence of the difference in the molecular mechanism of fludioxonil action and the perception of osmotic stress. This is an excellent basis to understand the successful phenylpyrrole-fungicides' mode of action better and will give new ideas to decipher cellular signaling mechanisms.
Keywords: HIK1; Magnaporthe oryzae; MoHIK1; fludioxonil; fungicide; high osmolarity glycerol (HOG) pathway; histidine kinase; mode of action; phenylpyrrole; signal transduction.