Two protein kinases UvPmk1 and UvCDC2 with significant functions in conidiation, stress response and pathogenicity of rice false smut fungus Ustilaginoidea virens

  • Jintian Tang
  • Jing Bai
  • Xiaoyang Chen
  • Lu Zheng
  • Hao Liu
  • Junbin HuangEmail author
Original Article


Ustilaginoidea virens is an important fungus causing rice false smut, a devastating disease on spikelets of rice. In this study, we identified and characterized two CMGC (CDK/MAPK/GSK3/CLK) kinase genes, UvPmk1 and UvCDC2, in U. virens. Although UvPmk1 and UvCDC2 are, respectively, homologous to Fus3/Kss1 mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) and cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs), they all have a conserved serine/threonine protein kinase domain. The qRT-PCR analysis of the relative expression of UvPmk1 and UvCDC2 during the infection of U. virens showed that these two genes were highly expressed during infection. UvPmk1 and UvCDC2 knockout mutants exhibited no significant changes in mycelial vegetative growth but decreases in conidiation. In addition, both UvPmk1 and UvCDC2 knockout mutants showed increases in tolerance to hyperosmotic and cell wall stresses, but they, respectively, exhibited decreases and increases in tolerance to oxidative stress compared with the wild-type strain HWD-2. Pathogenicity and infection assays demonstrated the defective growth of infection hyphae and significant loss of virulence in UvPmk1 and UvCDC2 knockout mutants. Taken together, our results demonstrate that UvPmk1 and UvCDC2 play important roles in the conidiation, stress response, and pathogenicity of U. virens.


Ustilaginoidea virens UvPmk1 UvCDC2 Protein kinases Conidiation Stress response Pathogenicity 



We are grateful to Prof. Wenxian Sun at China Agricultural University for providing the gene deletion vectors pGKO. This work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program (2017YFD0301400, 2016YFD0300700) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities of China (2662018JC051).

Supplementary material

294_2019_1029_MOESM1_ESM.docx (17 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 16 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jintian Tang
    • 1
  • Jing Bai
    • 1
  • Xiaoyang Chen
    • 1
  • Lu Zheng
    • 1
  • Hao Liu
    • 1
  • Junbin Huang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.The Key Lab of Plant Pathology of Hubei ProvinceHuazhong Agricultural UniversityWuhanPeople’s Republic of China

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