The inhibitor of apoptosis protein (IAP) family has been identified in a variety of organisms. All IAPs contain one to three baculoviral IAP repeat (BIR) domains, which are required for anti-apoptotic activity.

Here, we identified a type II BIR domain-containing protein, MoBir1, in the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae. Expression of the MoBIR1 gene in Saccharomyces cerevisiae suppressed hydrogen peroxide-induced cell death and delayed yeast cell chronological aging. Delayed aging was found to require the carboxyl terminus of MoBir1. M. oryzae transformants overexpressing the MoBIR1 gene demonstrated increased growth rate and biomass, delayed mycelial aging, and enhanced resistance to hydrogen peroxide but reduced reactive oxygen species generation and virulence. Moreover, MoBIR1-overexpressing transformants exhibited anti-apoptotic activity. However, MoBIR1 silencing resulted in no obvious phenotypic changes, compared with the wild-type M. oryzae strain Guy11. Our findings broaden the knowledge on fungal type II BIR domain-containing proteins.