Genetic Analysis of Toxin Production by Fungi

  • O. C. Yoder
  • B. G. Turgeon
  • L. M. Ciuffetti
  • W. Schafer
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 27)


Certain plant pathogenic fungi produce toxins, secondary metabolites that have adverse effects on plants. The roles of fungal toxins in pathogenesis have rarely been critically evaluated. However, at least 15 species of fungi produce special types of toxic molecules called host-specific toxins (Yoder, 1980). These metabolites are toxic to susceptible hosts of the fungus but not to resistant plants or nonhosts. Host-specificity suggests, but does not prove, that these toxins play significant roles in pathogenesis. To date, the most persuasive argument that can be made in support of pathological roles for these toxins is based on conventional genetic analyses. Toxin production, in three cases at least, is correlated genetically with fungal pathogenicity or virulence.


Toxin Production Cosmid Vector Unique mRNAs Cyclic Tetrapeptide Southern Corn Leaf Blight 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bhullar BS, Daly JM, Rehfeld DW (1975) Inhibition of dark carbon dioxide fixation and photosynthesis in leaf discs of corn susceptible to the host-specific toxin produced by Helminthosporium maydis race T. Plant Physiol 56:1–7PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Botstein D, White RL, Skolnick M, Davis RW (1980) Construction of a genetic linkage map in man using restriction fragment length polymorphism. Amer J Human Genet 32:317–331Google Scholar
  3. Britten RJ, Graham DE, Newfeld BR (1974) Analysis of repeating DNA sequences by reassociation. Meth Enzymol 29:363–408PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Burke KT, Carle GF, Olson MV (1987) Cloning of large segments of exogenous DNA into yeast by means of artificial chromosome vectors. Science 236:806–812PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chu G, Vollrath D, Davis RW (1986) Separation of large DNA molecules by contour-clamped homogeneous electric fields. Science 234:1582–1585PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Clarke L, Carbon J (1976) A colony bank containing synthetic ColE1 hybrid plasmids representative of the entire E. coli genome. Cel 1 9:91–99Google Scholar
  7. Dewey RE, Timothy DH, Levings III CS (1987) A mitochondrial protein associated with cytoplasmic male sterility in the T cytoplasm of maize. Proc Natl Acad Sci 84:5374–5378PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dewey RE, Siedow JN, Timothy DH, Levings III CS (1988) A 13-kilodalton maize mitochondrial protein in E. coli confers sensitivity to Bipolaris maydis toxin. Science 239:293–295PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Drechsler C (1925) Leafspot of maize caused by Ophiobolus heterostrophus n. sp., the ascigerous stage of a Helminthosporium exhibiting bipolar germination. J Agr Res 31:701–726Google Scholar
  10. Earle ED, Gracen VE, Yoder OC, Gemmill KP (1978) Cytoplasm-specific effects of Helminthosporium maydis race T toxin on survival of corn mesophyll protoplasts. Plant Physiol 61:420–424PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gregory P, Earle ED, Gracen VE (1977) Biochemical and ultrastructural aspects of southern corn leaf blight disease. In: Hedin PA (ed.), Amer Chem Soc Symp. Ser No 62, Host plant resistance to pests, p 90–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hulbert SH, Michelmore RW (1988) DNA restriction fragment length polymorphism and somatic variation in the lettuce downy mildew fungus, Bremia lactucae. Mol Plant Microbe Int 1:17–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Karr AL Jr, Karr DB, Strobel GA (1974) Isolation and partial characterization of four host-specific toxins of Helminthosporium maydis race T. Plant Physiol 53: 250–257PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Klittich CJR, Bronson C (1986) Reduced fitness associated with TOX1 o f Cochliobolus he te rostrophus. Phytopathology 76:1294–1298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kono Y, Takeuchi S, Kawarada A, Daly JM, Knoche HW (1980) Structure of the host-specific pathotoxins produced by Helminthosporium maydis race T. Tetrahedron Lett 21:1537–1540CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Leach J, Lang BR, Yoder OC (1982a) Methods for selection of mutants and in vitro culture of Cochliobolus heterostrophus. J Gen Microbiol 128:1719–1729Google Scholar
  17. Leach J, Tegtmeier J, Daly JM, Yoder OC (1982b) Dominance at the Tox1 locus controlling T-toxin production byCochliobolus heterostrophus. Physiol Plant Pathol 21:327–333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Liesch JM, Sweeley CC, Staffeld GD, Anderson MS, Weber DJ, Scheffer RP (1982) Structure of HC-toxin, a cyclic tetrapeptide from Helminthosporium carbonum. Tetrahedron Lett 38:45–48Google Scholar
  19. Macko V (1983) Structural aspects of toxins. In: Daly JM and Deverall BJ (eds) Toxins and Plant Pathogenesis. Academic Press, Australia, pp 41–80Google Scholar
  20. Maniatis T, Fritsch EF, Sambrook J (1982) Molecular cloning: A laboratory manual. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, p 545Google Scholar
  21. Matthews DE, Gregory P, Gracen VE (1979) Helminthosporrium maydis race T toxin induces leakage of NAD+ from T cytoplasm corn mitochondria. Plant Physiol 63:1149–1153PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Nelson RR (1960) Evolution of sexuality and pathogenicity. I. Interspecific crosses in the genus Helminthosporium. Phytopathology 50:375–377Google Scholar
  23. Orbach MJ, Vollrath D, Davis RW, Yanofsky C (1988) An electrophoretic karyotype of Neurospora crassa. Mol Cell Biol 8:1469–1473PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Panaccione DC, McKiernan M, Hanau RM (1988) Colletotrichum graminicola transformed with homologous and heterologous benomyl-resistant genes retains expected pathogenicity to corn. Mol Plant-Microbe Int 1:113–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Parsons KA, Chumley FG, Valent B (1987) Genetic transformation of the fungal pathogen responsible for rice blast disease. Proc Natl Acad Sci 84:4161–4165PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Payne G, Knoche HW, Kono Y, Daly JM (1980) Biological activity of purified host-specific pathotoxin produced by Bipolaris (Helminthosporium) maydis T. Physiol Plant Pathol 16:227–239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pope MR, Ciuffetti LM, Knocke HW, McCrery D, Daly JM, Dunkle LD (1983) Structure of the host-specific toxin produced by Heliminthosporium carbonum. Biochemistry 22:3502–3506CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rodriguez RJ, Yoder OC (1987) Selectable genes for transformation of the fungal plant pathogen Glomerella cingulata f. sp. phaseoli (Colletotrichum lindemuthianum). 54:73–81Google Scholar
  29. Skolnick MH, White R (1982) Strategies for detecting and characterizing restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLP’s). Cytogenet Cell Genet 32:58–67PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Tegtmeier KJ, Daly JM, Yoder OC (1982) T-toxin production by near-isogenic isolates of Cochilobolus heterostrophus (Helminthosporium maydis) racesT and O. Phytopathology 72:1492–1495CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Timberlake WE (1980) Developmental gene regulation in Aspergillus nidulans. Devel Biol 78:497–510CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Timberlake WE (1986) Isolation of stage- and cell-specific genes from fungi. In: J. A. Bailey (ed) Biological and Molecular Biology of Plant-Pathogen Interactions, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, pp 343–358.Google Scholar
  33. Turgeon BG, Garber RC, Yoder OC (1985) Transformation of the fungal maize pathogen Cochliobo1us heterostrophus using the Aspergillus nidulans amdS gene. Mol Gen Genet 201:450–453CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Turgeon BG, Garber RC, Yoder OC (1987) Development of a fungal transformation system based on selection of sequences with promoter activity. Mol Cell Biol 7:3297–3305PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Walton JD (1987) Two enzymes involved in biosynthesis of the host-selective Phytotoxin HC-toxin. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 84:8444–8447PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Walton JD, Earle ED, Gibson BW (1982) Purification and structure of the host-specific toxin from Helminthosporium carbonum race 1. Biochem Biophys Res Comm 107:785–794PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Walton JD, Earle ED, Yoder OC, Spanswick RM (1979) Reduction of adenosine triphosphate levels in susceptible maize mesophyll protoplasts by Helminthosporium maydis race T toxin. Plant Physiol 63:806–810PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Wang J, Holden DW, Leong SA (1987) Gene transfer system for the phytopathogenic fungus Ustilago maydis. Proc Natl Acad Sci 85:865–869CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wolpert TJ, Macko V, Acklin W, Jaun B, Seibl J, Meili J, Arigoni D (1985) Structure of victorin C, the major host-selective toxin from Cochliobolus victoriae. Experientia 41:1524–1529CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Yoder OC (1980) Toxins in pathogenesis. Ann Rev Phytopathol 18:103–129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Yoder OC (1981) Assay. In: Durbin RD (ed), Toxins in Plant Disease, Academic Press, NY, pp 45–78Google Scholar
  42. Yoder OC, Valent B, Chumley F (1986) Genetic nomenclature and practice for plant pathogenic fungi. Phytopathology 76:383–385CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Yoder OC, Gracen VE (1975) Segregation of pathogenicity types and host-specific toxin production in progenies of crosses between races T and O of Helminthosporium maydis (Cochliobolus heterostrophus). Phytopathology 65:273–276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Zimmerman CR, Orr WC, Leclerc RF, Barnard EC, Timberlake WE (1980) Molecular cloning and selection of genes regulated in Aspergillus development. Cell 21:709–715CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • O. C. Yoder
    • 1
  • B. G. Turgeon
    • 1
  • L. M. Ciuffetti
    • 1
  • W. Schafer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plant PathologyCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

Personalised recommendations