Skip to main content
ARS Home » Midwest Area » St. Paul, Minnesota » Cereal Disease Lab » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #280845

Title: Evolution of Plant Pathogenicity in Fusarium Species

item MA, LI-JUN - University Of Massachusetts
item Kistler, Harold
item REP, MARTIJN - University Of Amsterdam

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/18/2012
Publication Date: 8/1/2013
Citation: Ma, L., Kistler, H.C., Rep, M. 2013. Evolution of Plant Pathogenicity in Fusarium Species. Book Chapter. p. 485-500.

Interpretive Summary: Each year, plant diseases caused by the fungus Fusarium reduce the value of a wide range of cultivated crops world-wide. Effective control measures for the diseases caused by these fungi usually are not readily available. We seek to develop new principles and measures for disease management by learning more about the spread and pathogenic adaptation of the fungi causing these diseases. Fusarium fungi have evolved novel methods by which they may change and transmit their pathogenic traits. Further knowledge of the genetic basis for pathogencity may be used to develop alternative approaches to loss management and control. This information will be helpful to plant improvement specialists who are working to develop plants resistant to these pathogens or for developing novel strategies for disease control.

Technical Abstract: Much of the molecular research on Fusarium species over the last decade has been dedicated to uncovering the molecular basis of pathogenicity toward different plant hosts. In practice, this has meant identifying genes required for pathogenicity and gaining insight into the molecular mechanisms through which the encoded proteins act to promote virulence. Roughly, these genes can be divided into two broad categories: (i) genes widely conserved in fungi (or a large portion of fungi such as the ascomycetes or pezizomycetes) and (ii) genes that seem to be associated with specific host–pathogen interactions. Investigation of the molecular functions of the genes in the first class has revealed basic cellular processes, such as signal transduction routes, cell wall modification, general stress adaptation, and metabolic capabilities, which are required for the ability to invade (living) plants. Although required for pathogenicity, these functions are generally also present in nonpathogens and do not, therefore, define pathogenicity as such. In contrast, genes in the second category may be called "determinants of pathogenicity," or simply virulence factors, and are often required for virulence toward particular host plants. It is this class of genes and their associated functions in Fusarium species that are the primary focus of this chapter.