Genetic and Transcriptional Regulatory Mechanisms of Lipase Activity in the Plant Pathogenic Fungus Fusarium graminearum

Sieun Kim, Juno Lee, Jiyeun Park, Soyoung Choi, Duc Cuong Bui, Jung Eun Kim, Jiyoung Shin, Hun Kim, Gyung Ja Choi, Yin Won Lee, Pahn Shick Chang, Hokyoung Son

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Lipases, which catalyze the hydrolysis of long-chain triglycerides, diglycerides, and monoglycerides into free fatty acids and glycerol, participate in various biological pathways in fungi. In this study, we examined the biological functions and regulatory mechanisms of fungal lipases via two approaches. First, we performed a systemic functional characterization of 86 putative lipase-encoding genes in the plant-pathogenic fungus Fusarium graminearum. The phenotypes were assayed for vegetative growth, asexual and sexual reproduction, stress responses, pathogenicity, mycotoxin production, and lipase activity. Most mutants were normal in the assessed phenotypes, implying overlapping roles for lipases in F. graminearum. In particular, FgLip1 and Fgl1 were revealed as core extracellular lipases in F. graminearum. Second, we examined the lipase activity of previously constructed transcription factor (TF) mutants of F. graminearum and identified three TFs and one histone acetyltransferase that significantly affect lipase activity. The relative transcript levels of FgLIP1 and FGL1 were markedly reduced or enhanced in these TF mutants. Among them, Gzzc258 was identified as a key lipase regulator that is also involved in the induction of lipase activity during sexual reproduction. To our knowledge, this study is the first comprehensive functional analysis of fungal lipases and provides significant insights into the genetic and regulatory mechanisms underlying lipases in fungi. IMPORTANCE Fusarium graminearum is an economically important plant-pathogenic fungus that causes Fusarium head blight (FHB) on wheat and barley. Here, we constructed a gene knockout mutant library of 86 putative lipase-encoding genes and established a comprehensive phenotypic database of the mutants. Among them, we found that FgLip1 and Fgl1 act as core extracellular lipases in this pathogen. Moreover, several putative transcription factors (TFs) that regulate the lipase activities in F. graminearum were identified. The disruption mutants of F. graminearum-lipase regulatory TFs all showed defects in sexual reproduction, which implies a strong relationship between sexual development and lipase activity in this fungus. These findings provide valuable insights into the genetic mechanisms regulating lipase activity as well as its importance to the developmental stages of this plant-pathogenic fungus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMicrobiology Spectrum
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2023


  • Fusarium graminearum
  • lipases
  • transcription factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Ecology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology
  • Infectious Diseases


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