A novel approach to investigate hypoxic microenvironment during rice colonization by Magnaporthe oryzae

Hyunjung Chung, Seongbeom Kim, Ki Tae Kim, Bae Geun Hwang, Hye Jeong Kim, Sang Joon Lee, Yong Hwan Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Because molecular oxygen functions as the final acceptor of electrons during aerobic respiration and a substrate for diverse enzymatic reactions, eukaryotes employ various mechanisms to maintain cellular homeostasis under varying oxygen concentration. Human fungal pathogens change the expression of genes involved in virulence and oxygen-required metabolisms such as ergosterol (ERG) synthesis when they encounter oxygen limitation (hypoxia) during infection. The oxygen level in plant tissues also fluctuates, potentially creating hypoxic stress to pathogens during infection. However, little is known about how in planta oxygen dynamics impact pathogenesis. In this study, we investigated oxygen dynamics in rice during infection by Magnaporthe oryzae via two approaches. First, rice leaves infected by M. oryzae were noninvasively probed using a microscopic oxygen sensor. Second, an immunofluorescence assay based on a chemical probe, pimonidazole, was used. Both methods showed that oxygen concentration in rice decreased after fungal penetration. We also functionally characterized five hypoxia-responsive genes participating in ERG biosynthesis for their role in pathogenesis. Resulting insights and tools will help study the nature of in planta oxygen dynamics in other pathosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1151-1169
Number of pages19
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Mar
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grants from National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2017R1A2A1A17069504, NRF-2015M3A9B8028679, and NRF-2018R1A5A1023599) and Korea Institute of Planning and Evaluation for Technology in

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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