Sda1, a Cys2-His2 zinc finger transcription factor, is involved in polyol metabolism and fumonisin B1 production in Fusarium verticillioides.
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The ubiquitous ascomycete Fusarium verticillioides causes ear rot and stalk rot of maize, both of which reduce grain quality and yield. Additionally, F. verticillioides produces the mycotoxin fumonisin B1 (FB1) during infection of maize kernels, and thus potentially compromises human and animal health. The current knowledge is fragmentary regarding the regulation of FB1 biosynthesis, particularly when considering interplay with environmental factors such as nutrient availability. In this study, SDA1 of F. verticillioides, predicted to encode a Cys-2 His-2 zinc finger transcription factor, was shown to play a key role in catabolizing select carbon sources. Growth of the SDA1 knock-out mutant (sda1) was completely inhibited when sorbitol was the sole carbon source and was severely impaired when exclusively provided mannitol or glycerol. Deletion of SDA1 unexpectedly increased FB1 biosynthesis, but reduced arabitol and mannitol biosynthesis, as compared to the wild-type progenitor. Trichoderma reesei ACE1, a regulator of cellulase and xylanase expression, complemented the F. verticillioides sda1 mutant, which indicates that Ace1 and Sda1 are functional orthologs. Taken together, the data indicate that Sda1 is a transcriptional regulator of carbon metabolism and toxin production in F. verticillioides.