Characterization of Fusarium graminearum Mes1 reveals roles in cell-surface organization and virulence

William R. Rittenour, Steven D. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The surfaces of fungal hyphae are mosaics of carbohydrates and cell-surface proteins. Presently, very little is known about the role of these proteins and their organization at the cell surface. Here, we characterize two Fusarium graminearum genes implicated in cell-surface organization, mes1 (FGSG_06680) and pls1 (FGSG_08695). Mes1 is a homologue of mesA, which is required for the formation of stable polarity axes in Aspergillus nidulans. Pls1 encodes a tetraspanin, which belongs to a class of proteins that have been shown to aggregate in membrane rafts along with integrins and other signaling proteins. Our results indicate that Pls1 is dispensable for saprophytic growth and wheat head infection by F. graminearum (a pathogen that does not form appressoria). However, deletion of mes1 reduces sexual and asexual reproduction, severely perturbs the shape of macroconidia and hyphae, alters the pattern of cell wall deposition and the organization of sterol-rich rafts, and attenuates virulence on wheat heads. Our results provide a basis for identifying determinants of fungal virulence that may localize to specialized domains at the cell surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)933-946
Number of pages14
JournalFungal Genetics and Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Fusarium graminearum
  • Hyphal morphogenesis
  • Lipid microdomains
  • MesA
  • Tetraspanin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Genetics


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