Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADPH) oxidases have been shown to be involved in various differentiation proc-esses in fungi. We investigated the role of two NADPH oxi-dases in the necrotrophic phytopathogenic fungus, Botrytis cinerea. The genes bcnoxA and bcnoxB were cloned and characterized; their deduced amino acid sequences show high homology to fungal NADPH oxidases. Analyses of sin-gle and double knock-out mutants of both NADPH oxidase genes showed that both bcnoxA and bcnoxB are involved in formation of sclerotia. Both genes have a great impact on pathogenicity: whereas bcnoxB mutants showed a retarded formation of primary lesions, probably due to an impaired formation of penetration structures, bcnoxA mutants were able to penetrate host tissue in the same way as the wild type but were much slower in colonizing the host tissue. Double mutants showed an additive effect: they were aber-rant in penetration and colonization of plant tissue and, therefore, almost nonpathogenic. To study the structure of the fungal Nox complex in more detail, bcnoxR (encoding a homolog of the mammalian p67 phox , a regulatory subunit of the Nox complex) was functionally characterized. The phe-notype of ΔbcnoxR mutants is identical to that of ΔbcnoxAB double mutants, providing evidence that BcnoxR is involved in activation of both Bcnox enzymes.
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