Plant Pathology Department


Date of this Version



Fernandez J, Wilson RA (2014) Characterizing Roles for the Glutathione Reductase, Thioredoxin Reductase and Thioredoxin Peroxidase-Encoding Genes of Magnaporthe oryzae during Rice Blast Disease. PLoS ONE 9(1): e87300. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0087300


© 2014 Fernandez, Wilson. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Understanding how pathogenic fungi adapt to host plant cells is of major concern to securing global food production. The hemibiotrophic rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae, cause of the most serious disease of cultivated rice, colonizes leaf cells asymptomatically as a biotroph for 4–5 days in susceptible rice cultivars before entering its destructive necrotrophic phase. During the biotrophic growth stage, M. oryzae remains undetected in the plant while acquiring nutrients and growing cell-to-cell. Which fungal processes facilitate in planta growth and development are still being elucidated. Here, we used gene functional analysis to show how components of the NADPH-requiring glutathione and thioredoxin antioxidation systems of M. oryzae contribute to disease. Loss of glutathione reductase, thioredoxin reductase and thioredoxin peroxidase-encoding genes resulted in strains severely attenuated in their ability to grow in rice cells and that failed to produce spreading necrotic lesions on the leaf surface. Glutathione reductase, but not thioredoxin reductase or thioredoxin peroxidase, was shown to be required for neutralizing plant generated reactive oxygen species (ROS). The thioredoxin proteins, but not glutathione reductase, were shown to contribute to cell-wall integrity. Furthermore, glutathione and thioredoxin gene expression, under axenic growth conditions, was dependent on both the presence of glucose and the M. oryzae sugar/ NADPH sensor Tps1, thereby suggesting how glucose availability, NADPH production and antioxidation might be connected. Taken together, this work identifies components of the fungal glutathione and thioredoxin antioxidation systems as determinants of rice blast disease that act to facilitate biotrophic colonization of host cells by M. oryzae.