Molecular characterization of StpkaC2 and expression patterns of both PKA-c isoforms during the invasive growth of Setosphaeria turcica
Ustilago maydis, a fungal pathogen of maize, alternates between budding and filamentous growth in response to mating and other environmental signals. Defects in components of the cAMP signaling pathway affect this morphological transition and reveal an association of budding growth with elevated cAMP levels and filamentous growth with low cAMP levels. We have identified two genes, adr1 and uka1, encoding catalytic subunits of cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA). Disruption of adr1 resulted in a constitutively filamentous growth phenotype similar to that of mutants deficient in adenylyl cyclase. Importantly, adr1 is required for pathogenicity and is responsible for the majority of PKA activity in fungal cells. In contrast, uka1 has little influence on pathogenicity, and deletion of the uka1 gene does not affect cell morphology. These results provide compelling evidence that regulated PKA activity is crucial during infectious development of U. maydis.