Methionine Biosynthesis is Essential for Infection in the Rice Blast Fungus Magnaporthe oryzae

Abstract : Methionine is a sulfur amino acid standing at the crossroads of several biosynthetic pathways. In fungi, the last step of methionine biosynthesis is catalyzed by a cobalamine-independent methionine synthase (Met6, EC 2.1.1.14). In the present work, we studied the role of Met6 in the infection process of the rice blast fungus, Magnaporthe oryzae. To this end MET6 null mutants were obtained by targeted gene replacement. On minimum medium, MET6 null mutants were auxotrophic for methionine. Even when grown in presence of excess methionine, these mutants displayed developmental defects, such as reduced mycelium pigmentation, aerial hypha formation and sporulation. They also displayed characteristic metabolic signatures such as increased levels of cysteine, cystathionine, homocysteine, S-adenosylmethionine, S-adenosylhomocysteine while methionine and glutathione levels remained unchanged. These metabolic perturbations were associated with the over-expression of MgCBS1 involved in the reversed transsulfuration pathway that metabolizes homocysteine into cysteine and MgSAM1 and MgSAHH1 involved in the methyl cycle. This suggests a physiological adaptation of M. oryzae to metabolic defects induced by the loss of Met6, in particular an increase in homocysteine levels. Pathogenicity assays showed that MET6 null mutants were non-pathogenic on both barley and rice leaves. These mutants were defective in appressorium-mediated penetration and invasive infectious growth. These pathogenicity defects were rescued by addition of exogenous methionine and S-methylmethionine. These results show that M. oryzae cannot assimilate sufficient methionine from plant tissues and must synthesize this amino acid de novo to fulfill its sulfur amino acid requirement during infection.
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Marie Emmanuelle Saint-Macary, Crystel Barbisan, Marie Josèphe Gagey, Océane Frelin, Roland Beffa, et al.. Methionine Biosynthesis is Essential for Infection in the Rice Blast Fungus Magnaporthe oryzae. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2015, 10 (4), pp.e0111108. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0111108⟩. ⟨hal-02320054⟩

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