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New method enables gene disruption in destructive fungal pathogen

ection of the new mutants, as well as a short partial target gene that integrates and disrupts genes in the pathogen's genome.

Richard Oliver, director of the Australian Centre for Necrotrophic Fungal Pathogens and professor of Molecular Plant Pathology at Murdoch University, Perth, commented: "The new disruption method looks highly promising as a tool for functional genomic studies. The authors looked at over 20 genes and were able to produce transformants and inactivated genes or knock-outs in each experiment. In most cases, the efficiency of gene disruption was 100 percent, which represents a considerable improvement over previously reported methods and makes large-scale functional analysis of individual genes feasible."

Yangrae Cho of VBI, lead scientist and author of the paper, said, "The high throughput system described in this study should allow for the systematic analysis of large sets of candidate genes in A. brassicicola, such as those encoding cell-wall-degrading enzymes and other genes of interest in pathogen-plant interactions."

The new gene disruption method may also find applications in the study of fungal pathogens that directly impact humans and human health. In addition to causing numerous plant diseases, Alternaria are involved in the development of such chronic airway diseases as asthma, allergy and chronic rhinosinusitis. Gene disruption methods could help in identifying molecules from the fungus that trigger inflammatory and other types of immune responses in humans. By understanding how fungi modulate immune responses in humans, new ways of developing therapeutics for these conditions could be identified.


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Source:Virginia Tech


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