Autophagy-related lipase FgATG15 of Fusarium graminearum is important for lipid turnover and plant infection

Long Nam Nguyen, Jörg Bormann, Giang Thi Thu Le, Cornelia Stärkel, Stefan Olsson, Joshua D. Nosanchuk, Henriette Giese, Wilhelm Schäfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Autophagy is a non-selective degradation pathway in eukaryotic cells that is conserved from yeasts to humans. Autophagy is involved in the virulence of several pathogenic fungi such as Magnaporthe grisea or Colletotrichum orbiculare. In the current study, we identified and disrupted an autophagy-like lipase FgATG15 in Fusarium graminearum. We showed that FgATG15 exhibits lipase activity when heterologously expressed in P. pastoris. We used a gene deletion approach to characterize the function of the enzyme. We demonstrate that FgATG15 is involved in fungal growth and aerial hyphae production. FgATG15 is also involved in conidia production and germination, and disruption of FgATG15 led to aberrant conidia shapes. FgATG15 disruptants were reduced in storage lipid degradation under starvation conditions, implicating FgATG15's involvement in lipid turnover. Moreover, wheat head infection by the disruptants was severely attenuated, indicating the involvement of FgATG15 in pathogenesis. Additionally, we found that the deoxynivalenol levels of FgATG15 disruptants were significantly decreased compared with the wild type strain. Taken together, we show that FgATG15 is involved in numerous developmental processes and could be exploited as an antifungal target.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-224
Number of pages8
JournalFungal Genetics and Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Autophagy
  • Fusarium graminearum
  • Lipase
  • Lipid turnover
  • Virulence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Genetics


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