Molecular investigation of Postia placenta growing in modified wood

IRG/WP 11-10756

B Schmöllerl, G Alfredsen, C G Fossdal, M Westin, A Steitz

Brown rot is the most common and destructive type of fungal decay for wood in service. These fungi depolymerize preferentially the structural carbohydrates, cellulose and hemicellulose in the cell wall leaving oxidized lignin behind. Modified wood can provide protection against a variety of wood deteriorating organisms, including decay fungi. However, there is still little known about the mode of function of the different wood modifications concerning the decay resistance. The biochemical mechanisms and gene products induced in brown rot during growth in modified wood are poorly understood. In this paper the data collected from mass loss studies and qPCR and qRT-PCR were used for profiling growth dynamics and gene expression of the brown rot fungus Postia placenta in different wood substrates through different stages of decay. Pinus sylvestris (L.) sapwood was used for the following treatments and modifications: chromated copper arsenate CCA (0.67%), furfurylation (WPG 37), thermal modification (D212) and acetylation (WPG 23). Untreated Pinus sylvestris (L.) sapwood was used as control. Samples were taken at different time intervals from 2 to 26 weeks. The highest mass loss and the highest fungal DNA content were found in the control samples while acetylated wood had the lowest mass loss and fungal DNA content. These results reflect a close relation of mass loss and fungal DNA content, both reflecting the amount of Postia placenta decaying the samples. Generally, expression of the investigated genes was highest in CCA treated wood. In the beginning of the incubation of all treated wood samples, the genes coding for oxidative metabolic activity had higher expression levels than the untreated control. In the end of the incubation most of these genes were less expressed than in the untreated control. The genes used for carbohydrate metabolism and the alcohol oxidase showed a significant decrease after 14 weeks of incubation. At the same time an increase in gene expression of an enzyme putative involved in lignin decomposition was detected.

Keywords: fungal colonization, gene expression, wood modification, Postia placenta, qPCR, qRT-PCR

Conference: 11-05-08/12 Queenstown, New Zealand

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