The fungal endophyte Penicillium olsonii ML37 reduces Fusarium head blight by local induced resistance in wheat spikes

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The fungal endophyte Penicillium olsonii ML37 is a biocontrol agent of Fusarium head blight in wheat (caused by Fusarium graminearum), which has shown a limited direct inhibition of fungal growth in vitro. We used RNA-seq and LC-MS/MS analyses to elucidate metabolic interactions of the three-way system Penicillium–wheat–Fusarium in greenhouse experiments. We demonstrated that P. olsonii ML37 colonises wheat spikes and transiently activates plant defence mechanisms, as pretreated spikes show a faster and stronger expression of the defence metabolism during the first 24 h after pathogen inoculation. This effect was transient and the expression of the same genes was lower in the pathogen-infected spikes than in those infected by P. olsonii alone. This response to the endophyte includes the transcriptional activation of several WRKY transcription factors. This early activation is associated with a reduction in FHB symptoms and significantly lower levels of the F. graminearum metabolites 15-acetyl-DON and culmorin. An increase in the Penicillium-associated metabolite asperphanamate confirms colonisation by the endophyte. Our results suggest that the mode of action used by P. olsonii ML37 is via a local defence activation in wheat spikes, and that this fungus has potential as a novel biological alternative in wheat disease control.

TidsskriftJournal of Fungi
Udgave nummer4
Antal sider17
StatusUdgivet - 2022

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
Funding: This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 674964. Pilar Esteban was supported by the Erasmus+ programme of the EU.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

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