Guignardia citricarpa is the causal agent of Citrus Black Spot (CBS), an important disease in Citriculture. Due to the expressive value of this activity worldwide, especially in Brazil, understanding more about the functioning of this fungus is of utmost relevance, making possible the elucidation of its infection mechanisms, and providing tools to control CBS. This work describes for the first time an efficient and successful methodology for genetic transformation of G. citricarpa mycelia, which generated transformants expressing the gene encoding for the gfp (green fluorescent protein) and also their interaction with citrus plant. Mycelia of G. citricarpa were transformed via Agrobacterium tumefaciens, which carried the plasmid pFAT-gfp, contains the genes for hygromycin resistance (hph) as well as gfp. The optimization of the agrotransformation protocol was performed testing different conditions (type of membrane; inductor agent concentration [acetosyringone - AS] and cocultivation time). Results demonstrated that the best condition occurred with the utilization of celluloses ester membrane; 200 ?M of AS and 96 h as cocultivation time. High mitotic stability (82 %) was displayed by transformants using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technique to confirm the hph gene insertion. In addition, the presence of gfp was observed inside mycelia by epifluorescence optical microscopy. This technique easy visualization of the behaviour of the pathogen interacting with the plant for the first time, allowing future studies on the pathogenesis of this fungus. The establishment of a transformation method for G. citricarpa opens a range of possibilities and facilitates the study of insertional mutagenesis and genetic knockouts, in order to identify the most important genes involved in the pathogenesis mechanisms and plant-pathogen interaction.
Epicoccum nigrum Link (syn. E. purpurascens Ehrenb. ex Schlecht) is a saprophytic ascomycete distributed worldwide which colonizes a myriad of substrates. This fungus has been known as a biological control agent for plant pathogens and produces a variety of secondary metabolites with important biological activities as well as biotechnological application. E. nigrum produces darkly pigmented muriform conidia on short conidiophores on sporodochia and is a genotypically and phenotypically highly variable species. Since different isolates identified as E. nigrum have been evaluated as biological control agents and used for biocompound production, it is highly desirable that this species name refers to only one lineage. However, according to morphological and genetic variation, E. nigrum present two genotypes that may comprise more than one species.
Sugarcane is one of the most important crops in Brazil, mainly because of its use in biofuel production. Recent studies have sought to determine the role of sugarcane endophytic microbial diversity in microorganism-plant interactions, and their biotechnological potential. Epicoccum nigrum is an important sugarcane endophytic fungus that has been associated with the biological control of phytopathogens, and the production of secondary metabolites. In spite of several studies carried out to define the better conditions to use E. nigrum in different crops, little is known about the establishment of an endophytic interaction, and its potential effects on plant physiology.
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