WD40-repeat protein MoCreC is essential for carbon repression and is involved in conidiation, growth and pathogenicity of Magnaporthe oryzae.
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Carbon catabolite repression (CCR) is a common regulatory mechanism used by microorganisms to prioritize use of a preferred carbon source (usually glucose). The CreC WD40-repeat protein is a major component of the CCR pathway in Aspergillus nidulans. To clarify the function of the CreC ortholog from Magnaporthe oryzae in regulating gene expression important for pathogenesis, MoCreC was identified and genetically characterized. The vegetative growth rate of the MoCreC deletion mutant on various carbon sources was reduced. The MoCreC mutant produced fewer conidia and with about 60% of conidia having septation defects. Appressorium formation was impaired in the MoCreC mutant. Although some appressoria of the mutant could penetrate the leaf surface successfully, the efficiency of penetration and invasive growth of infection hyphae was reduced, resulting in attenuated virulence toward host plants. The CCR was defective as the mutant was more sensitive to allyl alcohol in the presence of glucose, and 2-deoxyglucose was unable to fully repress utilization of secondary carbon sources. qRT-PCR results indicated that the genes encoding cell wall degradation enzymes, such as -glucosidase, feruloyl esterase and exoglucanase, were upregulated in MoCreC mutant. Taken together, we conclude that MoCreC is a major regulator of CCR and plays significant roles in regulating growth, conidiation, and pathogenicity of M. oryzae.