Genetic evidence for magnaporthe oryzae vitamin b3 acquisition from rice cells

Richard A. Wilson, Jessie Fernandez, Raquel O. Rocha, Margarita Marroquin-Guzman, Janet D. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Following penetration, the devastating rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae, like some other important eukaryotic phytopathogens, grows in intimate contact with living plant cells before causing disease. Cell-to-cell growth during this biotrophic growth stage must involve nutrient acquisition, but experimental evidence for the internalization and metabolism of host-derived compounds is exceedingly sparse. This striking gap in our knowledge of the infection process undermines accurate conceptualization of the plant–fungal interaction. Here, through our general interest in Magnaporthe metabolism and with a specific focus on the signalling and redox cofactor nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), we deleted the M. oryzae QPT1 gene encoding quinolinate phosphoribosyltransferase, catalyst of the last step in de novo NAD biosynthesis from tryptophan. We show how QPT1 is essential for axenic growth on minimal media lacking nicotinic acid (NA, an importable NAD precursor). However, Δqpt1 mutant strains were fully pathogenic, indicating de novo NAD biosynthesis is dispensable for lesion expansion following invasive hyphal growth in leaf tissue. Because overcoming the loss of de novo NAD biosynthesis in planta can only occur if importable NAD precursors (which solely comprise the NA, nicotinamide and nicotinamide riboside forms of vitamin B3) are accessible, we unexpectedly but unequivocally demonstrate that vitamin B3 can be acquired from the host and assimilated into Magnaporthe metabolism during growth in rice cells. Our results furnish a rare, experimentally determined example of host nutrient acquisition by a fungal plant pathogen and are significant in expanding our knowledge of events at the plant–fungus metabolic interface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1198-1202
Number of pages5
JournalMicrobiology (United Kingdom)
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2019


  • Biotrophy
  • Leaf metabolome
  • Magnaporthe oryzae
  • Metabolism
  • NAD
  • Nutrient acquisition
  • Pathogenicity
  • Plant-microbe interactions
  • Pyricularia oryzae
  • Rice
  • Rice blast
  • Vitamin B3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology


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