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Spatiotemporal nature of Fusarium graminearum-wheat coleoptile interactions

  • Qiu, Han1
  • Zhao, Xu1
  • Fang, Wenqin1
  • Wu, Huiming2
  • Abubakar, Yakubu Saddeeq3
  • Lu, Guo-dong1, 2
  • Wang, Zonghua1, 2, 4
  • Zheng, Wenhui1, 2
  • 1 Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, State Key Laboratory of Ecological Pest Control for Fujian and Taiwan Crops, College of Plant Protection, Fuzhou, China , Fuzhou (China)
  • 2 Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, Fujian Province Key Laboratory of Pathogenic Fungi and Mycotoxins, College of Life Sciences, Fuzhou, China , Fuzhou (China)
  • 3 Ahmadu Bello University, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Life Sciences, Zaria, Nigeria , Zaria (Nigeria)
  • 4 Minjiang University, Institute of Oceanography, Fuzhou, China , Fuzhou (China)
Published Article
Phytopathology Research
BioMed Central
Publication Date
Aug 27, 2019
DOI: 10.1186/s42483-019-0033-7
Springer Nature


Fusarium head blight (FHB) caused by the ascomycete fungus Fusarium graminearum can result in significant crop losses and render the crops harmful to human health due to contamination with mycotoxin. Although the pathogenesis of F. graminearum is widely investigated by molecular genetics approaches, detailed studies about its cellular and developmental processes at the initial stages of infection are very limited. We applied live-cell imaging approach to characterize the spatial and temporal development of growing hyphae and plant responses during F. graminearum and wheat coleoptile interactions. The present investigation demonstrates that F. graminearum uses two strategies to penetrate the host epidermal cells. The pathogen breaks through the host cell wall with appressoria-like structures derived from surficial hyphae, and also with the narrow pegs from thick and bulbous intracellular hyphae. Live cell imaging in the presence of the endocytic tracker FM4–64 showed that the plasma and intermembranes of the invaded wheat coleoptile cells were intact. Invasive hyphae exhibit branching, budding, pseudohyphae-like growth, cell-to-cell spreading ability, and were sealed within a plant membrane, indicating a biotrophic lifestyle of this fungus inside the invaded cells. Time-lapse imaging suggested that there were callose depositions at the plant cell walls in the form of continuous lines and also on the outer linings of the fungal invasive hyphae at colonization stage. In addition, our studies demonstrate that the activation of the toxisome-related gene (TRI4) requires external stimuli and is spatio-temporally modulated. Generally, this study provides new insights into the colonization strategies and host response features during F. graminearum-plant interactions. Further tracing of cellular details will significantly contribute to our understanding of molecular mechanisms of F. graminearum-host interactions.

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