A Novel Regulatory Gene, Tri10, Controls Trichothecene Toxin Production and Gene Expression
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We report here the characterization or Tri10, a novel regulatory gene within the trichothecene gene cluster. Comparison of Tri10 genomic and mRNA sequences revealed that removal of a single 77-bp intron provided a 1,260-bp open reading frame, encoding a 420-amino-acid protein. Disruption of Tri10 in Fusarium sporotrichioides abolished T-2 toxin production and dramatically decreased the transcript accumulation for four trichothecene genes (Tri4, Tri5, Tri6, and Tri101) and an apparent farnesyl pyrophosphate synthetase (Fpps) gene. Conversely, homologous integration of a disruption vector by a single upstream crossover event significantly increased T-2 toxin production and elevated the transcript accumulation of the trichothecene genes and Fpps. Further analysis revealed that disruption of Tri10, and to a greater extent the disruption of Tri6, increased sensitivity to T-2 toxin under certain growth conditions. Although Tri10 is conserved in Fusarium graminearum and Fusarium sambucinum and clearly plays a central role in regulating trichothecene gene expression, it does not show any significant matches to proteins of known or predicted function or to motifs except a single transmembrane domain. We suggest a model in which Tri10 acts upstream of the clusterencoded transcription factor TRI6 and is necessary for full expression of both the other trichothecene genes and the genes for the primary metabolic pathway that precedes the trichothecene biosynthetic pathway, as well as for wild-type levels of trichothecene self-protection. We further suggest the presence of a regulatory loop where Tri6 is not required for the transcription of Tri10 but is required to limit the expression of Tri10.