Special Issue "Plant-Pathogen Interaction"

A special issue of Biology (ISSN 2079-7737). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 April 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Maria Doroteia Campos
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Instituto de Investigação e Formação Avançada, Universidade de Évora, Évora, Portugal
Interests: With a background in agronomical sciences and plant biotechnology, Maria Doroteia Campos has developed her scientific career on the molecular response of plants to environmental constraints, both abiotic and biotic. In this line, her actual interests lie on the question of how plant specific gene dynamics are involved on responses to pathogens, for development of new strategies for sustainable plant protection
Prof. Maria do Rosário Félix
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Departamento de Fitotecnia, Universidade de Évora, Portugal
Interests: Maria do Rosário Félix has a background in agronomical sciences and general plant pathology, working for about 25 years on plant pathogens, with a main focus on important diseases affecting Mediterranean crops, characterizing these pathogens molecularly, designing and improving molecular diagnostic tests, studying the relationships between pathogens and antagonists, and using viruses as a tool for plant protection

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Plant pathogens cause severe loss in natural plant systems, as well as in terms of economics and production in the agriculture systems. While many biotic constraints are well known, and confronted with variable success, the occurrence of emerging pathogens and the progressive incidence of novel virulent strains, races or pathotypes is evident. Moreover, the practicability of some of the currently-available crop protection measures is questioned. Understanding how pathogens adopt an appropriate adaptive mechanism during plant infection, and the exploitation of the diversity of mechanisms that plants process to control the resistance/susceptibility to plant diseases, will aid in conserving nature and ecosystem services and is also of benefit for agriculture and forestry. The identification of regulatory components involved in the processes will be of major importance for a sustainable plant-disease management. Knowledge of plant–pathogen interactions could aid in the prevention of disease in plants, which would be beneficial to agricultural production and to global food security. For this Special Issue, we invite the submission of original research papers and reviews covering all aspects of plant–pathogen interactions, both in natural and agricultural systems.

Dr. Maria Doroteia Campos
Prof. Maria do Rosário Félix
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Plant protection
  • Plant pathology
  • Plant disease resistance
  • Biotic stress
  • Plant innate immune response

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Endophytic Fungi as Potential Biological Control Agents against Grapevine Trunk Diseases in Alentejo Region
Biology 2020, 9(12), 420; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9120420 - 26 Nov 2020
Viewed by 570
Abstract
Grapevine trunk diseases (GTDs) are the most widespread fungal diseases, affecting grapevines in all the major growing regions of the world, and their complete eradication is still not possible. Aiming to search alternatives to avoid the spread and high incidence of these diseases, [...] Read more.
Grapevine trunk diseases (GTDs) are the most widespread fungal diseases, affecting grapevines in all the major growing regions of the world, and their complete eradication is still not possible. Aiming to search alternatives to avoid the spread and high incidence of these diseases, the present work intended to molecularly identify the grapevine endophytic community, the phytopathogenic fungi associated with GTDs in vineyards within the Alentejo region, and to test potential antagonist microorganisms as biological control candidates against GTDs-associated fungi. Grapevine endophytic community showed a wide variety of fungi in GTDs’ asymptomatic and symptomatic plants, nine of them previously described as GTDs-associated fungi. GTDs prevalent fungi identified in symptomatic plants were Diaporthe sp., Neofusicoccum sp., and H. viticola. Almost all these fungi were also detected in asymptomatic plants, which shows the importance of investigating the interactions of fungal communities and confirms the need for early diagnosis of these diseases. Direct inhibition antagonism tests were performed among identified endophytes and GTDs phytopathogenic fungi, and all the endophyte fungi showed potential as biocontrol agents. Our findings suggest that endophytes are promising candidates for their use in biological control due to their antagonistic activity against the mycelia growth of some GTDs-associated fungi. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Pathogen Interaction)
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Open AccessArticle
Epigenetic Changes in Host Ribosomal DNA Promoter Induced by an Asymptomatic Plant Virus Infection
Biology 2020, 9(5), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9050091 - 28 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1522
Abstract
DNA cytosine methylation is one of the main epigenetic mechanisms in higher eukaryotes and is considered to play a key role in transcriptional gene silencing. In plants, cytosine methylation can occur in all sequence contexts (CG, CHG, and CHH), and its levels are [...] Read more.
DNA cytosine methylation is one of the main epigenetic mechanisms in higher eukaryotes and is considered to play a key role in transcriptional gene silencing. In plants, cytosine methylation can occur in all sequence contexts (CG, CHG, and CHH), and its levels are controlled by multiple pathways, including de novo methylation, maintenance methylation, and demethylation. Modulation of DNA methylation represents a potentially robust mechanism to adjust gene expression following exposure to different stresses. However, the potential involvement of epigenetics in plant-virus interactions has been scarcely explored, especially with regard to RNA viruses. Here, we studied the impact of a symptomless viral infection on the epigenetic status of the host genome. We focused our attention on the interaction between Nicotiana benthamiana and Pelargonium line pattern virus (PLPV, family Tombusviridae), and analyzed cytosine methylation in the repetitive genomic element corresponding to ribosomal DNA (rDNA). Through a combination of bisulfite sequencing and RT-qPCR, we obtained data showing that PLPV infection gives rise to a reduction in methylation at CG sites of the rDNA promoter. Such a reduction correlated with an increase and decrease, respectively, in the expression levels of some key demethylases and of MET1, the DNA methyltransferase responsible for the maintenance of CG methylation. Hypomethylation of rDNA promoter was associated with a five-fold augmentation of rRNA precursor levels. The PLPV protein p37, reported as a suppressor of post-transcriptional gene silencing, did not lead to the same effects when expressed alone and, thus, it is unlikely to act as suppressor of transcriptional gene silencing. Collectively, the results suggest that PLPV infection as a whole is able to modulate host transcriptional activity through changes in the cytosine methylation pattern arising from misregulation of methyltransferases/demethylases balance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Pathogen Interaction)
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Open AccessArticle
Isolation and Identification of Fusarium spp., the Causal Agents of Onion (Allium cepa) Basal Rot in Northeastern Israel
Biology 2020, 9(4), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9040069 - 02 Apr 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1866
Abstract
Over the past decade, there have been accumulating reports from farmers and field extension personnel on the increasing incidence and spread of onion (Allium cepa) bulb basal rot in northern Israel. The disease is caused mainly by Fusarium species. Rotting onion [...] Read more.
Over the past decade, there have been accumulating reports from farmers and field extension personnel on the increasing incidence and spread of onion (Allium cepa) bulb basal rot in northern Israel. The disease is caused mainly by Fusarium species. Rotting onion bulbs were sampled from fields in the Golan Heights in northeastern Israel during the summers of 2017 and 2018. Tissue from the sampled onion bulbs was used for the isolation and identification of the infecting fungal species using colony and microscopic morphology characterization. Final confirmation of the pathogens was performed with PCR amplification and sequencing using fungi-specific and Fusarium species-specific primers. Four Fusarium spp. isolates were identified in onion bulbs samples collected from the contaminated field: F. proliferatum, F. oxysporum f. sp. cepae, and two species less familiar as causative agents of this disease, F. acutatum and F. anthophilium. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that these species subdivided into two populations, a northern group isolated from white (Riverside cv.) onion bulbs, and a southern group isolated from red (565/505 cv.) bulbs. Pathogenicity tests conducted with seedlings and bulbs under moist conditions proved that all species could cause the disease symptoms, but with different degrees of virulence. Inoculating seeds with spore suspensions of the four species, in vitro, significantly reduced seedlings’ germination rate, hypocotyl elongation, and fresh biomass. Mature onion bulbs infected with the fungal isolates produced typical rot symptoms 14 days post-inoculation, and the fungus from each infected bulb was re-isolated and identified to satisfy Koch’s postulates. The onion bulb assay also reflected the degree of sensitivity of different onion cultivars to the disease. This work is the first confirmed report of the direct and primary cause of Fusarium onion basal rot disease in northeastern Israel. These findings are a necessary step towards uncovering the mycoflora of the diseased onion plants and developing a preventive program that would reduce the disease damage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Pathogen Interaction)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Tillage System and Cover Crop on Maize Mycorrhization and Presence of Magnaporthiopsis maydis
Biology 2020, 9(3), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9030046 - 03 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1213
Abstract
The sustainability of agriculture requires the adoption of agricultural soil conservation practices with positive impacts on soil quality, which can promote beneficial soil microbiota like arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and its diversity. This study aims to assess the influence of the presence of [...] Read more.
The sustainability of agriculture requires the adoption of agricultural soil conservation practices with positive impacts on soil quality, which can promote beneficial soil microbiota like arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and its diversity. This study aims to assess the influence of the presence of intact extraradical mycelium as a preferential source of inoculum of the native AMF in order to guarantee a better colonization as well as its possible bioprotective effect against Magnaporthiopsis maydis. In order to vary the available extraradical mycelium, two experiments, with and without cover crop, were carried out, in which two tillage systems and two maize varieties were studied. The capitalization of the benefits, in terms of grain production and M. maydis presence, associated to the cover crop were only achieved with minimum tillage. Therefore, both cultural practices are necessary to reduce the fungus presence, coupling the effect of mycorrhization together with other benefits associated with the cover crop. Although in the absence of a cover crop and using conventional tillage, yields and lower levels of M. maydis are possibly achieved, this system is more dependent on the variety used, does not benefit from the advantages associated with the cover crop, is more expensive, and environmentally unsustainable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Pathogen Interaction)
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Open AccessArticle
Comparative Ergot Alkaloid Elaboration by Selected Plectenchymatic Mycelia of Claviceps purpurea through Sequential Cycles of Axenic Culture and Plant Parasitism
Biology 2020, 9(3), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9030041 - 25 Feb 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1298
Abstract
Ergot alkaloids have an established place in plant pathology and toxicology. As pharmaceuticals, their sourcing is via natural or managed agricultural occurrence of sclerotia of Claviceps purpurea (Fr.) Tul. or through industrial fermentation processes with other Claviceps. The key factor for biosynthesis [...] Read more.
Ergot alkaloids have an established place in plant pathology and toxicology. As pharmaceuticals, their sourcing is via natural or managed agricultural occurrence of sclerotia of Claviceps purpurea (Fr.) Tul. or through industrial fermentation processes with other Claviceps. The key factor for biosynthesis is differentiation of a particular mycelial anatomy. Previous study of these fungi from two disparate English grass genera, Spartina and Phragmites, has shown that only mycelia expressing a plectenchymatic sclerotium-like anatomy in specific axenic culture conditions elaborated ergot alkaloids, and then only as far as lysergic acid. The present report describes sequential cycles of axenic and parasitic cultivation for wild isolates from Dactylis and Alopecurus with intervention of a single ascospore step. This confirms the homozygous character of C. purpurea and defines several potential experimental axenic and parasitic conditions within the species for comparing genomic aspects of partial or full biosynthesis of cyclic tri-peptide alkaloids. Whereas Alopecurus ergot isolates readily parasitized rye, use of Dactylis isolates as inoculum for rye ovaries failed to cause the usual sphacelial fructification but supported growth of exceptionally thin sclerotia, sometimes two in a floret, with low alkaloid content attributed to reduced medullary component. However, after two cycles of axenic and rye-parasitic cultivation, and consistent re-selection of the plectenchymatic character in axenic mycelia, typical growth of ergot sclerotia occurred on rye. Caution thus seems necessary in tests for putative host specificity in any taxonomic realignments within the classical concept of C. purpurea. A Dactylis ergot isolate was also uniquely shown to parasitise the plumule of germinating rye seeds confirming the susceptibility of apical tissues. A key biosynthetic feature of a mycelial glyceride oil, rich in ricinoleic acid, as a prelude to axenic and parasitic formation of ergot alkaloids by C. purpurea is emphasised. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Pathogen Interaction)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Defense and Offense Strategies: The Role of Aspartic Proteases in Plant–Pathogen Interactions
Biology 2021, 10(2), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10020075 - 21 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 503
Abstract
Plant aspartic proteases (APs; E.C.3.4.23) are a group of proteolytic enzymes widely distributed among different species characterized by the conserved sequence Asp-Gly-Thr at the active site. With a broad spectrum of biological roles, plant APs are suggested to undergo functional specialization and to [...] Read more.
Plant aspartic proteases (APs; E.C.3.4.23) are a group of proteolytic enzymes widely distributed among different species characterized by the conserved sequence Asp-Gly-Thr at the active site. With a broad spectrum of biological roles, plant APs are suggested to undergo functional specialization and to be crucial in developmental processes, such as in both biotic and abiotic stress responses. Over the last decade, an increasing number of publications highlighted the APs’ involvement in plant defense responses against a diversity of stresses. In contrast, few studies regarding pathogen-secreted APs and AP inhibitors have been published so far. In this review, we provide a comprehensive picture of aspartic proteases from plant and pathogenic origins, focusing on their relevance and participation in defense and offense strategies in plant–pathogen interactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Pathogen Interaction)
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