Submitted to: FEMS Immunology and Medical Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/7/2006
Publication Date: 8/7/2006
Citation: Webb, C.A., Fellers, J.P. 2006. Cereal rust genomics and the pursuit of virulence and avirulence factors. FEMS Immunology and Medical Microbiology. Interpretive Summary: Rusts are serious diseases in cereals. Currently, the most cost effective way of controlling the pathogen is though natural resistance. However, changes in the plant or the pathogen can cause a previously resistant host to become susceptible to infection. There are several groups worldwide that are working on understanding how the pathogen and host plant interact. They are using genomics to understand what genes are in the pathogen and to identify the ones that are important to infection. This paper is a mini review that summarizes the current status of these efforts.
Technical Abstract: Rust diseases cause significant reductions annually in yield of cereal crops world-wide. Traditional monoculture cropping systems apply significant selection pressure on the pathogen to cause rapid shifts in pathotypes. Plant breeders strive to stay ahead of the evolving pathogens by releasing new crop genotypes with new rust resistance genes or gene combinations. Due to the limited number of known resistance genes and the lack of molecular understanding of the plant-pathogen interaction, rusts remain challenging organisms to study, both at organismal and molecular levels. This review discusses recent progress by a number of laboratories towards better understanding the molecular component of rust disease resistance.