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Yu, D, Zhang, S, Li, X, Xu, JR, Schultzhaus, Z and Jin, Q (2017) A Gin4-Like Protein Kinase GIL1 Involvement in Hyphal Growth, Asexual Development, and Pathogenesis in Fusarium graminearum. Int J Mol Sci 18
Fusarium graminearum is the main causal agent of Fusarium head blight (FHB) on wheat and barley. In a previous study, a GIN4-like protein kinase gene, GIL1, was found to be important for plant infection and sexual reproduction. In this study we further characterized the functions of GIL1 kinase in different developmental processes. The Δgil1 mutants were reduced in growth, conidiation, and virulence, and formed whitish and compact colonies. Although phialide formation was rarely observed in the mutants, deletion of GIL1 resulted in increased hyphal branching and increased tolerance to cell wall and cell membrane stresses. The Δgil1 mutants produced straight, elongated conidia lacking of distinct foot cells and being delayed in germination. Compared with the wild type, some compartments in the vegetative hyphae of Δgil1 mutants had longer septal distances and increased number of nuclei, suggesting GIL1 is related to cytokinesis and septation. Localization of the GIL1-GFP fusion proteins to the septum and hyphal branching and fusion sites further supported its roles in septation and branching. Overall, our results indicate that GIL1 plays a role in vegetative growth and plant infection in F. graminearum, and is involved in septation and hyphal branching.