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The Split Personality of Beauveria bassiana: Understanding the Molecular Basis of Fungal Parasitism and Mutualism / Almudena Ortiz-Urquiza

mSystems, Volume: 6, Issue: 4

Swansea University Author: Almudena Ortiz-Urquiza

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Abstract

Fungal pathogenicity toward insects has independently evolved several times, resulting in specialist and generalist pathogens, some of whom have maintained aspects of their previous lifestyles. Being able to grow as an endophyte (engaging in a mutualistic interaction with plants) or saprophyte (recy...

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Published in: mSystems
ISSN: 2379-5077
Published: American Society for Microbiology 2021
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa58011
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Abstract: Fungal pathogenicity toward insects has independently evolved several times, resulting in specialist and generalist pathogens, some of whom have maintained aspects of their previous lifestyles. Being able to grow as an endophyte (engaging in a mutualistic interaction with plants) or saprophyte (recycling nutrients back into the environment), the generalist (broad-host-range) fungus Beauveria bassiana does not need to rely on insect hosts to complete its life cycle. The diverse lifestyles of this fungus, saprophyte, pathogen, and symbiont, provide a unique system, with available genetic tools, to examine host-pathogen interactions, plant-fungus mutualistic relationships, and fungal development. This commentary highlights overlooked pathogenic and mutualistic aspects of B. bassiana that assist this fungus in shifting along the saprobe/parasite/mutualist continuum. Addressing these knowledge gaps and scrutinizing valuable players driving such a spectrum of ecological interactions will enrich our knowledge of fundamental environmental microbiology and help develop new approaches to pest control and sustainable farming.
Keywords: Beauveria bassiana, VOCs, cuticular lipids, endophytic growth, fungal toxins, lipid assimilation, lipid hydrolysis, plant-fungus association, saprobe/parasite/mutualist continuum, targeted gene knockout
College: College of Science
Issue: 4