Molecular Mycology and Mycoparasitism

FWFSpecies of the fungal genus Trichoderma are among the most commonly isolated moulds from various habitats world-wide. These fungi display a remarkable variety of lifestyles amongst which mycoparasitism today is known to be the innate nature of the whole genus. Mycoparasites are able to parasitize and prey on other fungi, a property that renders them interesting and sustainable alternatives to synthetic fungicides. The antagonistic success of Trichoderma mycoparasites is largely dependent on the fungus’ ability to quickly and adequately react to environmental cues and to produce bio-molecules such as lytic enzymes and secondary metabolites for competing and attacking other fungi. A pre-requisite for successful mycoparasitism is the sensing of respective prey fungi which includes pre-contact prey recognition and re-programming of cellular activities in Trichoderma. We could show previously that conserved signal transduction pathways govern the activation of the mycoparasitic response in Trichoderma atroviride. In addition, we know that sensing of the prey results in stress response reactions in the mycoparasite, which resemble those triggered by nitrogen limitation and which include key components known to be involved in nitrogen sensing in other organisms.

trichotorIn this project entitled “Tricho-TOR: TOR kinase signalling in the mycoparasite Trichoderma atroviride”, we plan to unravel in T. atroviride the function of key components of the TOR signalling pathway, the central nitrogen sensing pathway in eukaryotes. We want to identify how signalling via the TOR kinase and its up- and down-stream components cooperates with known mycoparasitism-relevant signal transduction cascades in order to regulate respective cellular outputs. These key aspects of the project will be tackled by generating respective T. atroviride mutants genetically interrupted in central hubs of the TOR pathway and analyzing their basic biological and mycoparasitism-specific phenotypes. In addition, novel regulators of TOR signalling shall be screened for by using protein- protein interaction-based methods in order to identify upstream components involved in sensing. By including a collection of available signalling mutants with alterations in their mycoparasitic activities, functional interrelations with the TOR pathway will be identified.

  P 28248 ( 

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