The C-terminal MIR-containing region in the Pmt1 O-mannosyltransferase restrains sporulation and is dispensable for virulence in Beauveria bassiana
Protein O-glycosylation is crucial in determining the structure and function of numerous secreted and membrane-bound proteins. In fungi, this process begins with the addition of a mannose residue by protein O-mannosyltransferases (PMTs) in the lumen side of the ER membrane. We have generated mutants of the three Botrytis cinerea pmt genes to study their role in the virulence of this wide-range plant pathogen. B. cinerea PMTs, especially PMT2, are critical for the stability of the cell wall and are necessary for sporulation and for the generation of the extracellular matrix. PMTs are also individually required for full virulence in a variety of hosts, with a special role in the penetration of intact plant leaves. The most significant case is that of grapevine leaves, whose penetration requires the three functional PMTs. Furthermore, PMT2 also contributes significantly to fungal adherence on grapevine and tobacco leaves. Analysis of extracellular and membrane proteins showed significant changes in the pattern of protein secretion and glycosylation by the pmt mutants, and allowed the identification of new protein substrates putatively glycosylated by specific PMTs. Since plants do no possess these enzymes, PMTs constitute a promising target in the development of novel control strategies against B. cinerea.