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Microbiology
Vol.
158, No. 7, 2012; Pages: 1826 - 1842

Transcriptome analysis of the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana grown on cuticular extracts of the coffee berry borer (Hypothenemus hampei)

Javier Guillermo Mantilla, Narmer F. Galeano, Alvaro L. Gaitan, Marco A. Cristancho, Nemat O. Keyhani and Carmenza E. Góngora

Department of Entomology, Cenicafe – Federacafe, Chinchina, Caldas, Colombia.

Abstract

The coffee berry borer (CBB; Hypothenemus hampei) is a major pest of coffee responsible for significant crop losses worldwide. The entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana represents a natural means of controlling this insect pest; however, little is known concerning the molecular determinants that contribute to the virulence of the fungus towards the CBB. In order to examine genes involved in insect virulence, two expressed sequence tag (EST) libraries, representing germinating conidia and growing hyphae/mycelia of B. bassiana cells grown on cuticular extracts of the CBB were constructed and analysed. In total, 4186 cDNA transcripts were obtained, which included 2141 from the cuticle-germinated conidia and 2045 from the cuticle-grown mycelium libraries, respectively. The average sequence length obtained was 470 bp and transcript assembly resulted in a set of 1271 and 1305 unique gene sequences for the conidial and mycelia libraries, respectively. Around 50 % of the sequences in each library could be annotated by gene ontology terms. An analysis of the two generated libraries as well as a previously reported EST library of B. bassiana grown on chitin was performed. Between the cuticle-germinated conidia and the cuticle-grown mycelia libraries, 322 unique gene sequences were shared, of which 90 % could be annotated, leaving 949 unique cuticle-germinated conidial genes and 983 unique growing hyphae/mycelia genes of which around 65 % were annotated. ESTs shared between the libraries indicated a basic response pattern for B. bassiana against H. hampei, which included genes implicated in pathogenicity. The expression profiles of four genes were evaluated with a cyclophilin, an alkaline-like serine protease and a mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), showing elevated expression during initial phases of infection, i.e. conidia germinating on insect extracts. These data provide clues and gene candidates for further exploration concerning the biology and molecular mechanisms of entomopathogenicity by this fungus.

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