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Article

Culture Degeneration Reduces Sex-Related Gene Expression, Alters Metabolite Production and Reduces Insect Pathogenic Response in Cordyceps militaris

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Gene Regulation and RNA Biology Laboratory, Division of Molecular Therapeutics and Formulation, School of Pharmacy, University Park Campus, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK
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Centre for Analytical Bioscience, Advanced Materials and Healthcare Technologies Division, School of Pharmacy, University Park Campus, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK
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Fungal Genetics and Biology Group, School of Life Sciences, University Park Campus, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK
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Mycomedica d.o.o., Podkoren 72, 4280 Kranjska Gora, Slovenia
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Warwick Crop Centre, School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick, Warwick CV35 9EF, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Vadim Kryukov and Victor Glupov
Microorganisms 2021, 9(8), 1559; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9081559
Received: 7 June 2021 / Revised: 17 July 2021 / Accepted: 17 July 2021 / Published: 22 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Entomopathogenic Fungi: Ecology, Evolution, Adaptation)
Cordyceps militaris is an entomopathogenic ascomycete, known primarily for infecting lepidopteran larval (caterpillars) and pupal hosts. Cordycepin, a secondary metabolite produced by this fungus has anti-inflammatory properties and other pharmacological activities. However, little is known about the biological role of this adenosine derivate and its stabilising compound pentostatin in the context of insect infection the life cycle of C. militaris. During repeated subcultivation under laboratory conditions a degeneration of C. militaris marked by decreasing levels of cordycepin production can occur. Here, using degenerated and parental control strains of an isolate of C. militaris, we found that lower cordycepin production coincides with the decline in the production of various other metabolites as well as the reduced expression of genes related to sexual development. Additionally, infection of Galleria mellonella (greater wax moth) caterpillars indicated that cordycepin inhibits the immune response in host haemocytes. Accordingly, the pathogenic response to the degenerated strain was reduced. These data indicate that there are simultaneous changes in sexual reproduction, secondary metabolite production, insect immunity and infection by C. militaris. This study may have implications for biological control of insect crop pests by fungi. View Full-Text
Keywords: entomopathogen; degeneration; Cordyceps militaris; Galleria mellonella; metabolomics; fungal sexual biology entomopathogen; degeneration; Cordyceps militaris; Galleria mellonella; metabolomics; fungal sexual biology
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MDPI and ACS Style

Wellham, P.A.D.; Hafeez, A.; Gregori, A.; Brock, M.; Kim, D.-H.; Chandler, D.; de Moor, C.H. Culture Degeneration Reduces Sex-Related Gene Expression, Alters Metabolite Production and Reduces Insect Pathogenic Response in Cordyceps militaris. Microorganisms 2021, 9, 1559. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9081559

AMA Style

Wellham PAD, Hafeez A, Gregori A, Brock M, Kim D-H, Chandler D, de Moor CH. Culture Degeneration Reduces Sex-Related Gene Expression, Alters Metabolite Production and Reduces Insect Pathogenic Response in Cordyceps militaris. Microorganisms. 2021; 9(8):1559. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9081559

Chicago/Turabian Style

Wellham, Peter A.D., Abdul Hafeez, Andrej Gregori, Matthias Brock, Dong-Hyun Kim, David Chandler, and Cornelia H. de Moor. 2021. "Culture Degeneration Reduces Sex-Related Gene Expression, Alters Metabolite Production and Reduces Insect Pathogenic Response in Cordyceps militaris" Microorganisms 9, no. 8: 1559. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9081559

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