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item Balint-Kurti, Peter

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/10/2004
Publication Date: 9/1/2004
Citation: Balint Kurti, P.J. 2004. Towards a molecular understanding of mycosphaerella/banana interactions. Book Chapter. p.147-160.

Interpretive Summary: We summarize progress made on the understanding of the Mycosphaerella/banana interaction, the cause of black Sigatoka disease- a devastating disease of banana worldwide. We have used molecular and other tools to start to dissect the basis of pathogenicity in this interaction.

Technical Abstract: A critical understanding of the molecular factors required by Mycosphaerella pathogens of banana to parasitize their hosts is needed to devise novel methods for control of these diseases. As a first step towards developing a molecular 'tool-box' to study pathogenicity and virulence factors of M. fijiensis, M. musicola, and M. eumusae, we developed a DNA-mediated transformation system, which confers to transformants stable resistance to the selective agent Hygromycin B and constitutive expression of green fluorescent protein. These markers serve as a valuable means for detecting and monitoring transformed isolates in planta - on hosts or nonhosts - in the laboratory or greenhouse. We have also examined biological factors that may effect the ability of these fungi to infect their plant hosts. We provide results suggesting the presence of self-inhibitors of germination in vegetative spores, describe an assay used to detect effects of fungal phytotoxins on banana suspension cultures, and characterize fungal resistance to oxidative stress, specifically caused by singlet oxygen. As a result of these studies, we have gained a greater appreciation for the complexities of the interaction between Mycosphaerella pathogens and their banana hosts. Molecular analyses of these interactions should prove to be informative and beneficial in devising novel approaches to control these plant diseases.