Characterising the role of GABA and its metabolism in the wheat pathogen Stagonospora nodorum

Oliver Mead, Eli Thynne, Britta Winterberg, Peter S. Solomon

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    36 Citations (Scopus)


    A reverse genetics approach was used to investigate the role of γ-aminobutyric acid metabolism in the wheat pathogenic fungus Stagonospora nodorum. The creation of mutants lacking Sdh1, the gene encoding succinic semialdehyde dehydrogenase, resulted in strains that grew poorly on γ-aminobutyric acid as a nitrogen source. The sdh1 mutants were more susceptible to reactive oxygen stress but were less affected by increased growth temperatures. Pathogenicity assays revealed that the metabolism of γ-aminobutyric acid is required for complete pathogenicity. Growth assays of the wild-type and mutant strains showed that the inclusion of γ-aminobutyric acid as a supplement in minimal media (i.e., not as a nitrogen or carbon source) resulted in restricted growth but increased sporulation. The addition of glutamate, the precursor to GABA, had no effect on either growth or sporulation. The γ-aminobutyric acid effect on sporulation was found to be dose dependent and not restricted to Stagonospora nodorum with a similar effect observed in the dothideomycete Botryosphaeria sp. The positive effect on sporulation was assayed using isomers of γ-aminobutyric acid and other metabolites known to influence asexual development in Stagonospora nodorum but no effect was observed. These data demonstrate that γ-aminobutyric acid plays an important role in Stagonospora nodorum in responding to environmental stresses while also having a positive effect on asexual development.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere78368
    JournalPLoS ONE
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2013


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