Exploring the genetic regulation of asexual sporulation in Zymoseptoria tritici

Anna M.M. Tiley*, Gary D. Foster, Andy M. Bailey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
326 Downloads (Pure)


Zymoseptoria tritici is the causal agent of septoria tritici blotch, a devastating fungal disease of wheat which can cause up to 40% yield loss. One of the ways in which Z. tritici spreads in the field is via rain splash-dispersed asexual pycnidiospores, however there is currently limited understanding of the genetic mechanisms governing the development of these propagules. In order to explore whether the existing models for conidiation in ascomycete fungi apply to Z. tritici, homologs to the well-characterized Aspergillus nidulans genes abacus (abaA), bristle (brlA), fluffy B (flbB), fluffy C (flbC), and stunted (stuA) were identified and knocked-out by Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. Although deletion of the ZtAbaA, ZtBrlA1, and ZtFlbB genes had no apparent effect on Z. tritici asexual sporulation or on pathogenicity, deletion of ZtFlbC or ZtBrlA2 resulted in mutants with reduced pycnidiospore production compared to the parental IPO323 strain. Deletion of ZtStuA gave non-pigmented mutants with altered vegetative growth and eliminated asexual sporulation and pathogenicity. These findings suggest that the well-established A. nidulans model of asexual sporulation is only partially applicable to Z. tritici, and that this pathogen likely uses additional, as yet uncharacterized genes to control asexual sporulation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1859
Number of pages14
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2018


  • Ascomycete
  • Asexual sporulation
  • Aspergillus nidulans
  • Pycnidia
  • Pycnidiospores
  • Septoria tritici blotch
  • Zymoseptoria tritici


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