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Biological Characteristics of Verticillium dahliae MAT1-1 and MAT1-2 Strains


Verticillium dahliae is a soil-borne plant pathogenic fungus that causes Verticillium wilt on hundreds of dicotyledonous plant species. V. dahliae is considered an asexually (clonal) reproducing fungus, although both mating type idiomorphs (MAT1-1 and MAT1-2) are present, and is heterothallic. Most of the available information on V. dahliae strains, including their biology, pathology, and genomics comes from studies on isolates with the MAT1-2 idiomorph, and thus little information is available on the MAT1-1 V. dahliae strains in the literature. We therefore evaluated the growth responses of MAT1-1 and MAT1-2 V. dahliae strains to various stimuli. Growth rates and melanin production in response to increased temperature, alkaline pH, light, and H2O2 stress were higher in the MAT1-2 strains than in the MAT1-1 strains. In addition, the MAT1-2 strains showed an enhanced ability to degrade complex polysaccharides, especially starch, pectin, and cellulose. Furthermore, several MAT1-2 strains from both potato and sunflower showed increased virulence on their original hosts, relative to their MAT1-1 counterparts. Thus, compared to MAT1-1 strains, MAT1-2 strains derive their potentially greater fitness from an increased capacity to adapt to their environment and exhibit higher virulence. These competitive advantages might explain the current abundance of MAT1-2 strains relative to MAT1-1 strains in the agricultural and sylvicultural ecosystems, and this study provides the baseline information on the two mating idiomorphs to study sexual reproduction in V. dahliae under natural and laboratory conditions.

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