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Research article2013Peer reviewed

Role of the methylcitrate cycle in growth, antagonism and induction of systemic defence responses in the fungal biocontrol agent Trichoderma atroviride

Dubey, Mukesh; Broberg, Anders; Jensen, Dan Funck; Karlsson, Magnus


Methylisocitrate lyase (MCL), a signature enzyme of the methylcitrate cycle, which cleaves methylisocitrate to pyruvate and succinate, is required for propionate metabolism, for secondary metabolite production and for virulence in bacteria and fungi. Here we investigate the role of the methylcitrate cycle by generating an mcl deletion mutant in the fungal biocontrol agent Trichoderma atroviride. Gene expression analysis shows that a basal expression of mcl is observed in all growth conditions tested. Phenotypic analysis of an mcl deletion mutant suggests the requirement of MCL in propionate resistance, growth, conidial pigmentation and germination, and abiotic stress tolerance. A plate confrontation assay did not show a difference between the WT and the Delta mcl strain in antagonism towards Botrytis cinerea. However, the Delta mcl/ strain displays reduced antagonism towards B. cinerea based on a secretion assay. Furthermore, an in vitro root colonization assay shows that the Delta mcl/ strain had reduced ability to colonize Arabidopsis thaliana roots, which results in reduced induction of systemic resistance towards B. cinerea. These data show that MCL is important not only for growth and development in T. atroviride but also in antagonism, root colonization and induction of defence responses in plants.

Published in

2013, Volume: 159, pages: 2492-2500