The velvet complex governs mycotoxin production and virulence of Fusarium oxysporum on plant and mammalian hosts

Manuel S López-Berges, Concepción Hera, Michael Sulyok, Katja Schäfer, Javier Capilla, Josep Guarro, Antonio Di Pietro, Katja Schafer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

124 Citations (Scopus)


Fungal pathogens provoke devastating losses in agricultural production, contaminate food with mycotoxins and give rise to life-threatening infections in humans. The soil-borne ascomycete Fusarium oxysporum attacks over 100 different crops and can cause systemic fusariosis in immunocompromised individuals. Here we functionally characterized VeA, VelB, VelC and LaeA, four components of the velvet protein complex which regulates fungal development and secondary metabolism. Deletion of veA, velB and to a minor extent velC caused a derepression of conidiation as well as alterations in the shape and size of microconidia. VeA and LaeA were required for full virulence of F. oxysporum on tomato plants and on immunodepressed mice. A critical contribution of velvet consists in promoting chromatin accessibility and expression of the biosynthetic gene cluster for beauvericin, a depsipeptide mycotoxin that functions as a virulence determinant. These results reveal a conserved role of the velvet complex during fungal infection on plants and mammals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-65
Number of pages17
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Issue number1
Early online date19 Nov 2012
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013

Bibliographical note

© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


  • Animals
  • Depsipeptides
  • Fungal Proteins
  • Fusariosis
  • Fusarium
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal
  • Gene Knockout Techniques
  • Genes, Fungal
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Lycopersicon esculentum
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Mycotoxins
  • Phylogeny
  • Plant Diseases
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Siderophores
  • Soil Microbiology
  • Spores, Fungal
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Virulence Factors


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