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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fargo, North Dakota » Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center » Sugarbeet and Potato Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #348027

Title: Tools of the crook – infection strategies of fungal plant pathogens

item RODRIGUEZ-MORENA, LUIS - Wageningen University
item EBERT, MALAIKA - Wageningen University
item Bolton, Melvin
item THOMMA, BART - Wageningen University

Submitted to: Plant Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/18/2017
Publication Date: 2/5/2018
Citation: Rodriguez-Morena, L., Ebert, M.K., Bolton, M.D., Thomma, B.P.H.J. 2018. Tools of the crook – infection strategies of fungal plant pathogens. The Plant Journal. 93(4):664-674.

Interpretive Summary: Fungi are an extremely important group of microorganisms that are involved in a wide array of ecological niches from decaying leaf litter to causing disease on plants. In the case of crop plants, pathogenic fungi constitute a major limitation to crop yield and quality potential. In this review, we focus on the various molecular infection strategies that fungal plant pathogens use to cause disease in their host. Such strategies include the use of effector proteins, secondary metabolites, and so-called small RNAs that work to undermine the host immune surveillance system to allow the fungal pathogen to complete a life cycle and release spores for another disease cycle.

Technical Abstract: Fungi represent an ecologically diverse group of microorganisms that includes plant pathogenic species able to cause considerable yield loses in crop production systems worldwide. In order to establish compatible interactions with their hosts, pathogenic fungi rely on the secretion of molecules of diverse nature during host colonization to modulate host physiology, manipulate other environmental factors or provide self-defence, collectively known as effectors. Besides the archetypical small secreted cysteine-rich proteins, these effector molecules also comprise secondary metabolites and sRNAs. Here, we discuss the most common strategies that fungal plant pathogens employ to subvert their host plants in order to successfully complete their life cycle and secure the release of abundant viable progeny.