Characterization and complementation of a Fus3/Kss1 type MAPK fromTuber borchii, TBMK

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Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) are used by organisms to transduce extra cellular signals from the environment in cellular events such as proliferation and differentiation. In the present study, we have characterized the first MAPK from the ectomycorrhizal fungus Tuber borchii (TBMK) which belongs to the YERK1 (yeast extra cellular regulated kinase) subfamily. TBMK is present as a single copy in the genome and the codified protein was phosphorylated during the interaction with the host plant, Tilia americana. Complementation studies showed that TBMK restores pheromone signaling in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and partially restores invasive growth of Fusarium oxysporum that lack the fmk1 gene. This suggests a protein kinase activity and its involvement in the infection processes. Hence, TBMK could play an important role during the pre-symbiotic phase of T. borchii with its host plant in the modulation of genes necessary for the establishment of symbiosis leading to the synthesis of functional ectomycorrhizae.

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