The FTF gene family regulates virulence and expression of SIX effectors in Fusarium oxysporum

Jonathan Niño-Sánchez, Virginia Casado-Del Castillo, Vega Tello, José J. De Vega-Bartol, Brisa Ramos, Serenella A. Sukno, José María Díaz Mínguez

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35 Citations (Scopus)


The FTF (Fusarium transcription factor) gene family comprises a single copy gene, FTF2, which is present in all the filamentous ascomycetes analysed, and several copies of a close relative, FTF1, which is exclusive to Fusarium oxysporum. An RNA-mediated gene silencing system was developed to target mRNA produced by all the FTF genes, and tested in two formae speciales: F. oxysporum f. sp. phaseoli (whose host is common bean) and F. oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici (whose host is tomato). Quantification of the mRNA levels showed knockdown of FTF1 and FTF2 in randomly isolated transformants of both formae speciales. The attenuation of FTF expression resulted in a marked reduction in virulence, a reduced expression of several SIX (Secreted In Xylem) genes, the best studied family of effectors in F. oxysporum, and lower levels of SGE1 (Six Gene Expression 1) mRNA, the presumptive regulator of SIX expression. Moreover, the knockdown mutants showed a pattern of colonization of the host plant similar to that displayed by strains devoid of FTF1 copies (weakly virulent strains). Gene knockout of FTF2 also resulted in a reduction in virulence, but to a lesser extent. These results demonstrate the role of the FTF gene expansion, mostly the FTF1 paralogues, as a regulator of virulence in F. oxysporum and suggest that the control of effector expression is the mechanism involved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1124-1139
Number of pages16
JournalMolecular plant pathology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016


  • effector
  • FTF
  • Fusarium wilt
  • genomic expansion
  • pathogenicity
  • transcription factor
  • virulence


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