The transcription factor Rbf1 is the master regulator for b-mating type controlled pathogenic development in Ustilago maydis. [PLoS Pathog. 2010 Aug 5;6(8). pii: e1001035.]
Heimel K, Scherer M, Vranes M, Wahl R, Pothiratana C, Schuler D, Vincon V, Finkernagel F, Flor-Parra I, Kämper J
In the phytopathogenic basidiomycete Ustilago maydis, sexual and pathogenic development are tightly connected and controlled by the heterodimeric bE/bW transcription factor complex encoded by the b-mating type locus. The formation of the active bE/bW heterodimer leads to the formation of filaments, induces a G2 cell cycle arrest, and triggers pathogenicity. Here, we identify a set of 345 bE/bW responsive genes which show altered expression during these developmental changes; several of these genes are associated with cell cycle coordination, morphogenesis and pathogenicity. 90% of the genes that show altered expression upon bE/bW-activation require the zinc finger transcription factor Rbf1, one of the few factors directly regulated by the bE/bW heterodimer. Rbf1 is a novel master regulator in a multilayered network of transcription factors that facilitates the complex regulatory traits of sexual and pathogenic development.