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Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Vol. 100 (20), 2016, Pages: 8889–8900

Characterization of T-DNA insertion mutants with decreased virulence in the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana JEF-007

Sihyeon Kim, Se Jin Lee, Yu-Shin Nai, Jeong Seon Yu, Mi Rong Lee, Yi-Ting Yang, Jae Su Kim

Department of Agricultural Biology, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Chonbuk National University, Jeonju, South Korea.


The bean bug, Riptortus pedestris, is a major agricultural pest that reduces crop quality and value. Chemical pesticides have contributed to pest management, but resistance to these chemicals has significantly limited their use. Alternative strategies with different modes of action, such as entomopathogenic fungi, are therefore of great interest. Herein, we explored how entomopathogenic fungi can potentially be used to control the bean bug and focused on identifying virulence-related genes. Beauveria bassiana (JEF isolates) were assayed against bean bugs under laboratory conditions. One isolate, JEF-007, showed >80 % virulence by both spray and contact exposure methods. Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation (AtMT) of JEF-007 generated 249 random transformants, two of which (B1-06 and C1-49) showed significantly reduced virulence against Tenebrio molitor and R. pedestris immatures. Both species were used for rapid screening of virulence-reduced mutants. The two transformants had different morphologies, conidial production, and thermotolerance than the wild type. To determine the localization of the randomly inserted T-DNA, thermal asymmetric interlaced (TAIL) PCR was conducted and analysis of the two clones found multiple T-DNA insertions (two in B1-06 and three in C1-49). Genes encoding complex I intermediate-associated protein 30 (CIA30) and the autophagy protein (Atg22) were possibly disrupted by the T-DNA insertion and might be involved in the virulence. This work provides a strong platform for future functional genetic studies of bean bug-pathogenic B. bassiana. The genes putatively involved in fungal virulence should be experimentally validated by knockdown in future studies.

Keywords: Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation, Beauveria bassiana, Riptortus pedestris, Thermal asymmetric interlaced PCRVirulence.

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