Submitted to: Advances in Genetics
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/30/2006
Publication Date: 2/1/2007
Citation: Klosterman, S.J., Perlin, M.H., Garcia-Pedrajas, M., Covert, S.F., Gold, S.E. 2007. Genetics of morphogenesis and pathogenic development of Ustilago maydis. Advances in Genetics. Ed. Dunlap, Jay C. Vol. 57. pg. 1-47. Interpretive Summary: N/A
Technical Abstract: Ustilago maydis has emerged as an important model system for the study of fungi. Like many fungi, U. maydis undergoes remarkable morphological transitions throughout its lifecycle. Fusion of compatible, budding, haploid cells leads to the production of a filamentous dikaryon that penetrates and colonizes the plant, culminating in the production of diploid teliospores within fungal-induced plant galls or tumors. These dramatic morphological transitions are controlled by components of various signaling pathways, including the pheromone-responsive MAP kinase and cAMP/PKA pathways, which co-regulate the dimorphic switch and sexual development of U. maydis. These signaling pathways must somehow cooperate with the regulation of the cytoskeletal and cell cycle machinery. In this review, we provide an overview of these processes from pheromone perception and mating to gall production and sporulation in planta. Emphasis is placed on the genetic determinants of morphogenesis and pathogenic development of U. maydis and on the fungus-host interaction. Additionally, we review advances in the development of tools to study U. maydis, including the recently available genome sequence. We conclude with a brief assessment of current challenges and future directions for the genetic study of U. maydis.