Functional analysis of tvsp1, a serine protease-encoding gene in the biocontrol agent Trichoderma virens
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Serine proteases are highly conserved among fungi and considered to play a key role in different aspects of fungal biology. These proteases can be involved in development and have been related to pathogenesis or biocontrol processes. A gene (tvsp1) encoding an extracellular serine protease was cloned from Trichoderma virens, a biocontrol agent effective against soilborne fungal pathogens. The gene was expressed in Escherichia coli and a polyclonal antibody was raised against the recombinant protein. The expression pattern of tvsp1 was determined and its physiological role was addressed by mutational analysis. Strains of T. virens in which tvsp1 was deleted (PKO) or constitutively overexpressed (POE) were not affected in growth rate, conidiation, extracellular protein accumulation, antibiotic profiles nor in their ability to induce phytoalexins in cotton seedlings. Tvsp1 overexpression, however, significantly increased the ability of some strains to protect cotton seedlings against Rhizoctonia solani. Our data show that Tvsp1 is not necessary for the normal growth or development of T. virens, but plays a role in the biocontrol process.
author list (cited authors)
Pozo, M. J., Baek, J., Garcı́a, J. M., & Kenerley, C. M.