The relationship between the mitochondrial gene T-urf13 and fungal pathotoxin sensitivity in maize.
Mitochondria isolated from maize containing cms-T cytoplasm are specifically sensitive to pathotoxins (T-toxins) produced by the fungi Bipolaris maydis race T and Phyllosticta maydis. T-toxins interact with a 13 kDa membrane-bound toxin receptor protein, URF13, to produce hydrophillic pores in the membrane. Expression of URF13 in Escherichia coli produces bacterial cells that form hydrophillic pores in the plasma membrane when exposed to T-toxin or methomyl. Topological studies have established that URF13 contains three membrane-spanning alpha-helices, two of which are amphipathic and may contribute to pore formation. URF13 specifically binds T-toxin in a cooperative manner. Oligonucleotide-directed mutagenesis of URF13 led to the isolation of methomyl/T-toxin-resistant mutations at 39 separate positions throughout the URF13 primary sequence. Chemical cross-linking of URF13 demonstrated the presence of URF13 oligomers and established that the pore-forming species is oligomeric. The ability of the carboxylate-specific reagent, dicyclohexycarbodiimide to cross-link URF13 has been used in conjunction with site-directed mutagenesis to establish that the URF13 tetramer has a central core consisting of a four-alpha-helical bundle that may undergo a conformational change after T-toxin or methomyl binding. Experimental evidence indicates that URF13 acts as a ligand-gated, pore-forming T-toxin receptor.
Siedow, JN; Rhoads, DM; Ward, GC; Levings, CS
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