• The analysis of gene transcripts associated with conidiation in the insect pathogenic fungus, Metarhizium anisopliae /

      Small, Cherrie-Lee.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2004-05-21)
      Conidia of the insect pathogenic fungus, Metarhizium anisopliae play an important role in pathogenicity because they are the infective propagules that adhere to the surface of the insect, then germinate and give rise to hyphal penetration of the insect cuticle. Conidia are produced in the final stages of insect infection as the mycelia emerge from the insect cadaver. The genes associated with conidiation have not yet been studied in this fiingus. hi this study we used the PCR-based technique, suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH) to selectively amplify conidial-associated genes in M. anisopliae. We then identified the presence of these differentially expressed genes using the National Center for Biotechnology Information database. One of the transcripts encoded an extracellular subtilisin-like protease, Prl, which plays a fundamental role in cuticular protein degradation. Analysis of the patterns of gene expression of the transcripts using RT-PCR indicated that conidial-associated cDNAs are expressed during the development of the mature conidium. RT-PCR analysis was also performed to examine in vivo expression of Prl during infection of waxworm larvae {Galleria mellonelld). Results showed expression of Prl as mycelia emerge and produce conidia on the surface of the cadaver. It is well documented that Prl is produced during the initial stages of transcuticular penetration by M. anisopliae. We suggest that upregulation of Prl is part of the mechanism by which reverse (from inside to the outside of the host) transcuticular penetration of the insect cuticle allows subsequent conidiation on the cadaver.
    • Primary characterization of genes involved in the colony development of the insect pathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae /

      Dryburgh, Farah-Jade.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2009-06-15)
      Strain improvement of the insect pathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopUae is necessary to increase its virulence towards agricultural pests and thus improve its commercial efficacy. Nevertheless, the release of genetically modified conidia in crop fields may negatively affect the ecosystem. Controlling conidiation is a potential means of limiting the release of engineered strains since conidia are the infective propagules and the means of dispersal. The purpose of this study was to research the colony development of M. anisopUae to identify potential targets for genetic manipulation to control conidiation. Following Agrobacterium tumefaciem insertional mutagenesis, phenotypic mutants were characterized using Y-shaped adaptor dependent extension PCR. Four of 1 8 colony development recombinants had T-DNA flanking sequences with high homology to genes encoding known signaling pathway proteins that regulate pathogenesis and/or asexual development in filamentous fungi. Conidial density counts and insect bioassays suggested that a Serine/Threonine protein kinase COTl homolog is not essential for conidiation or virulence. Furthermore, a choline kinase homolog is important for conidiation, but not virulence. Finally, the regulator of G protein signaling CAG8 and a NADPH oxidase NoxA homolog are necessary for conidiation and virulence. These genes are candidates for further investigation into the regulatory pathways controlling conidiation to yield insight into promising gene targets for biocontrol strain improvement.