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Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2023, Vol. 22 Issue (7): 2126-2137    DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2022.10.006
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SsRSS1 mediates salicylic acid tolerance and contributes to virulence in sugarcane smut fungus
ZHANG Hao-yang1, YANG Yan-fang1, GUO Feng2, SHEN Xiao-rui2, LU Shan1, 2, 3#, CHEN Bao-shan1, 2, 3#
1 College of Agriculture/Guangxi Key Laboratory of Sugarcane Biology, Guangxi University, Nanning 530004, P.R.China
2 State Key Laboratory for Conservation and Utilization of Subtropical Agro-Bioresources/College of Life Science and Technology,
Guangxi University, Nanning 530004, P.R.China
3 Ministry and Province Co-sponsored Collaborative Innovation Center for Sugarcane and Sugar Industry, Guangxi University,
Nanning 530004, P.R.China
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Abstract  Sugarcane smut caused by Sporisorium scitamineum is a destructive disease responsible for significant losses in sugarcane production worldwide. However, the mechanisms underlying the pathogenicity of this fungus remain largely unknown. In this study, we found that the disruption of the SsRSS1 gene, which encodes a salicylic acid (SA) sensing regulator, does not affect phenotypic traits such as the morphology, growth rate, and sexual mating ability of haploid basidiospores, but rather reduces the tolerance of basidiospores to SA stress by blocking the induction of SsSRG1, a gene encoding a SA response protein in S. scitamineum. SsRSS1 deletion resulted in the attenuation of the virulence of the fungus. In addition to a significant reduction in whip formation, a portion of plantlets (18.3%) inoculated with the ΔSsRSS1 strains were found to be infected but failed to produce whips for up to 90 days post-inoculation. However, the development of hyphae and teliospore from the ΔSsRSS1-infected plants that formed whips seemed indistinguishable from that in the wild-type-infected plants. Combined, our findings suggested that SsRss1 is required for maintaining fungal fitness in planta by counteracting SA stress.
Keywords:  Sporisorium scitamineum        SsRSS1        pathogenicity        salicylic acid respons
Received: 24 June 2022   Accepted: 05 September 2022
Fund: This study was supported by the grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31872635), the Guangxi Key Laboratory of Sugarcane Biology, China (2018-266-Z01), and the Department of Science and Technology of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China (AD17129002).
About author:  ZHANG Hao-yang, E-mail:; #Correspondence CHEN Bao-shan, Tel: +86-771-3225260, E-mail:; LU Shan, Tel: +86-771-3394554, E-mail:

Cite this article: 

ZHANG Hao-yang, YANG Yan-fang, GUO Feng, SHEN Xiao-rui, LU Shan, CHEN Bao-sha. 2023. SsRSS1 mediates salicylic acid tolerance and contributes to virulence in sugarcane smut fungus. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 22(7): 2126-2137.

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