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      Identification and characterization of MPG1, a gene involved in pathogenicity from the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe grisea.

      The Plant cell

      Amino Acid Sequence, Ascomycota, genetics, pathogenicity, Base Sequence, Cloning, Molecular, Fungal Proteins, Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal, Genes, Plant, Molecular Sequence Data, Oryza sativa, microbiology, Phenotype, Plant Diseases, RNA, Messenger, analysis, Restriction Mapping

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          Differential cDNA cloning was used to identify genes expressed during infectious growth of the fungal pathogen Magnaporthe grisea in its host, the rice plant. We characterized one of these genes, MPG1, in detail. Using a novel assay to determine the proportion of fungal biomass present in the plant, we determined that the MPG1 transcript was 60-fold more abundant during growth in the plant than in culture. Mpg1 mutants have a reduced ability to cause disease symptoms that appears to result from an impaired ability to undergo appressorium formation. MPG1 mRNA was highly abundant very early in plant infection concomitant with appressorium formation and was also abundant at the time of symptom development. The MPG1 mRNA was also expressed during conidiation and in mycelial cultures starved for nitrogen or carbon. MPG1 potentially encodes a small, secreted, cysteine-rich, moderately hydrophobic protein with the characteristics of a fungal hydrophobin. Consistent with the role of the MPG1 gene product as a hydrophobin, Mpg1 mutants show an "easily wettable" phenotype. Our results suggest that hydrophobins may have a role in the elaboration of infective structures by fungi and may fulfill other functions in fungal phytopathogenesis.

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