BackgroundTea-oil tree (Camellia oleifera) is a unique edible-oil tree in China, and anthracnose occurs in wherever it is cultivated, causing great economic losses each year. We have previously identified the Ascomycete fungus Colletotrichum fructicola as the major pathogen of anthracnose in Ca.oleifera. The purpose of this study was to characterize the biological function of Snf1 protein, a key component of the AMPK (AMP-activated protein kinase) pathway, for the molecular pathogenic-mechanisms of C. fructicola.ResultsWe characterized CfSnf1 as the homolog of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Snf1. Targeted CfSNF1 gene deletion revealed that CfSnf1 is involved in the utilization of specific carbon sources, conidiation, and stress responses. We further found that the ΔCfSnf1 mutant was not pathogenic to Ca.oleifera, resulting from its defect in appressorium formation. In addition, we provided evidence showing crosstalk between the AMPK and the cAMP/PKA pathways for the first time in filamentous fungi.ConclusionThis study indicate that CfSnf1 is a critical factor in the development and pathogenicity of C. fructicola and, therefore, a potential fungicide target for anthracnose control.