Special Issue "Plant Fungal Pathogenesis"

A special issue of Journal of Fungi (ISSN 2309-608X). This special issue belongs to the section "Fungal Pathogenesis and Disease Control".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2020) | Viewed by 22499

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. José Díaz
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
FISAPLANT Group, Departamento de Bioloxía, Facultade de Ciencias, Universidade da Coruña, Campus de A Coruña, E-15071 A Coruña, Spain
Interests: plant resistance to fungi and oomycetes; Verticillium dahliae; Botrytis cinerea; Fusarium oxysporum; Phytophthora capsici; plant signalling in resistance; induced resistance; plant phenolics; plant–microbe interactions; tomato spotted wilt virus; capsaicinoids
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Javier Veloso
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
FISAPLANT Group, Departamento de Bioloxía, Facultade de Ciencias, Universidade da Coruña, Campus de A Coruña, E-15071 A Coruña, Spain
Interests: plant resistance to fungi and oomycetes; Verticillium dahliae; Botrytis cinerea; Fusarium oxysporum; Phytophthora capsici; plant signalling in resistance; induced resistance; plant phenolics; plant–microbe interactions; tomato spotted wilt virus
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As you probably know, the United Nations has declared 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH). In their Website, FAO states that “The year is a once in a lifetime opportunity to raise global awareness on how protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, protect the environment, and boost economic development” (http://www.fao.org/plant-health-2020/en/). The sustainable management of plant diseases will lead to a better world, and both basic and applied research in Plant Pathology will help to achieve such a goal.

For this reason, the Journal of Fungi has decided to launch a special issue on “Plant Fungal Pathogenesis”, in which research and review manuscripts about plant diseases caused by fungi or fungal-like organisms (e.g., Oomycota) are welcome. The manuscripts can deal with all the sides of the so-called “plant disease triangle”, that is, the host plant, the fungal pathogen, and the environment. Particularly, we encourage submission of papers dealing with the mechanisms of the fungi to recognize the plant and successfully attack and colonize it, the mechanisms of the plant to perceive the pathogen and trigger defense responses, and the influence of environmental factors both abiotic (e.g., mineral nutrition, humidity, light, and so on) and biotic (e.g., microorganisms with proved or potential biological control activity).

Manuscripts dealing with fungicides, resistance of fungi to fungicides, plant breeding for resistance to fungal pathogen, or induced resistance against fungi will also be valuable contributions.

Dr. José Díaz
Dr. Javier Veloso
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Journal of Fungi is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • plant pathogen
  • fungi
  • Oomycota

Published Papers (16 papers)

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Research

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Article
Mycorrhiza-Induced Resistance against Foliar Pathogens Is Uncoupled of Nutritional Effects under Different Light Intensities
J. Fungi 2021, 7(6), 402; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7060402 - 21 May 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 932
Abstract
The use of microbial inoculants, particularly arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, has great potential for sustainable crop management, which aims to reduce the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. However, one of the major challenges of their use in agriculture is the variability of the [...] Read more.
The use of microbial inoculants, particularly arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, has great potential for sustainable crop management, which aims to reduce the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. However, one of the major challenges of their use in agriculture is the variability of the inoculation effects in the field, partly because of the varying environmental conditions. Light intensity and quality affect plant growth and defense, but little is known about their impacts on the benefits of mycorrhizal symbioses. We tested the effects of five different light intensities on plant nutrition and resistance to the necrotrophic foliar pathogen Botrytis cinerea in mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal lettuce plants. Our results evidence that mycorrhiza establishment is strongly influenced by light intensity, both regarding the extension of root colonization and the abundance of fungal vesicles within the roots. Light intensity also had significant effects on plant growth, nutrient content, and resistance to the pathogen. The effect of the mycorrhizal symbiosis on plant growth and nutrient content depended on the light intensity, and mycorrhiza efficiently reduced disease incidence and severity under all light intensities. Thus, mycorrhiza-induced resistance can be uncoupled from mycorrhizal effects on plant nutrition. Therefore, mycorrhizal symbioses can be beneficial by providing biotic stress protection even in the absence of nutritional or growth benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Fungal Pathogenesis)
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Article
The Non-Pathogenic Fusarium oxysporum Fo47 Induces Distinct Responses in Two Closely Related Solanaceae Plants against the Pathogen Verticillium dahliae
J. Fungi 2021, 7(5), 344; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7050344 - 28 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 792
Abstract
The non-pathogenic Fusarium oxysporum Fo47 is able to protect Capsicum annuum (pepper) but not in Solanum lycopersicum (tomato) against the pathogen Verticillium dahliae. Transcriptomics of the plant during the interaction with Fo47 shows the induction of distinct set of genes in pepper [...] Read more.
The non-pathogenic Fusarium oxysporum Fo47 is able to protect Capsicum annuum (pepper) but not in Solanum lycopersicum (tomato) against the pathogen Verticillium dahliae. Transcriptomics of the plant during the interaction with Fo47 shows the induction of distinct set of genes in pepper and tomato. The number of differentially expressed (DE) genes in pepper (231 DE genes) is greater than the number of DE genes in tomato (39 DE genes) at 2 days after the treatment with Fo47. Ethylene related genes were present among the DE genes in both plants, and the up-regulation of ethylene biosynthetic genes was observed to be triggered during the interaction of both plants with Fo47. The treatment with MCP (1-Methylcyclopropene, an ethylene-competitive inhibitor) reduced the Fo47 protection in pepper against Verticillium dahliae. Intriguingly, Fo47 was able to protect the ethylene-insensitive tomato mutant Never-ripe (Nr) against Verticillium dahliae, but not the tomato wilt type cv Pearson. Overall, ethylene is shown to be an important player in the response to Fo47, but its role depends on the host species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Fungal Pathogenesis)
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Article
Botrytis cinerea Transcriptome during the Infection Process of the Bryophyte Physcomitrium patens and Angiosperms
J. Fungi 2021, 7(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7010011 - 28 Dec 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1751
Abstract
Botrytis cinerea is a necrotrophic pathogen that causes grey mold in many plant species, including crops and model plants of angiosperms. B. cinerea also infects and colonizes the bryophyte Physcomitrium patens (previously Physcomitrella patens), which perceives the pathogen and activates defense mechanisms. [...] Read more.
Botrytis cinerea is a necrotrophic pathogen that causes grey mold in many plant species, including crops and model plants of angiosperms. B. cinerea also infects and colonizes the bryophyte Physcomitrium patens (previously Physcomitrella patens), which perceives the pathogen and activates defense mechanisms. However, these defenses are not sufficient to stop fungal invasion, leading finally to plant decay. To gain more insights into B. cinerea infection and virulence strategies displayed during moss colonization, we performed genome wide transcriptional profiling of B. cinerea during different infection stages. We show that, in total, 1015 B. cinerea genes were differentially expressed in moss tissues. Expression patterns of upregulated genes and gene ontology enrichment analysis revealed that infection of P. patens tissues by B. cinerea depends on reactive oxygen species generation and detoxification, transporter activities, plant cell wall degradation and modification, toxin production and probable plant defense evasion by effector proteins. Moreover, a comparison with available RNAseq data during angiosperm infection, including Arabidopsis thaliana, Solanum lycopersicum and Lactuca sativa, suggests that B. cinerea has virulence and infection functions used in all hosts, while others are more specific to P. patens or angiosperms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Fungal Pathogenesis)
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Article
Degenerated Virulence and Irregular Development of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum Induced by Successive Subculture
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 382; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040382 - 21 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1264
Abstract
Successive cultivation of fungi on artificial media has been reported to cause the sectorization, which leads to degeneration of developmental phenotype, and virulence. Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum (Fon), the causal agent of watermelon Fusarium wilt, forms degenerated sectors after successive cultivation. In [...] Read more.
Successive cultivation of fungi on artificial media has been reported to cause the sectorization, which leads to degeneration of developmental phenotype, and virulence. Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum (Fon), the causal agent of watermelon Fusarium wilt, forms degenerated sectors after successive cultivation. In the present research, we demonstrated that subculture with aged mycelia increased the incidence of degenerations. To further investigate the differences between the Fon wild type (sporodochial type, ST) and variants (MT: mycelial type and PT: pionnotal type), developmental phenotypes and pathogenicity to watermelon were examined. Results in variants (PT2, PT3, PT11, and MT6) were different from ST with mycelia growth, conidia production and chlamydospore formation. Virulence of degenerated variants on susceptible watermelon Grand Baby (GB) cultivar was determined after inoculation with Fon variants and Fon ST. In root dipping methods, Fon variants showed no significant differences in disease progress compared with ST. Fon variants showed a significant decrease in disease progression compared with ST through infested soil inoculation. The contrasting results of two inoculation methods suggest that the degenerative changes due to repeated successive cultivation may lead to the loss of pathogen virulence-related factors of the early stage of Fon infection process. Therefore, cell wall-degrading enzymes (CWDEs; cellulase, pectinase, and xylanase) activities of different variants were analyzed. All Fon degenerated variants demonstrated significant decreases of CWDEs activities compared with ST. Additionally, transcript levels of 9 virulence-related genes (fmk1, fgb1, pacC, xlnR, pl1, rho1, gas1, wc1, and fow1) were assessed in normal state. The degenerated variants demonstrated a significantly low level of tested virulence-related gene transcripts except for fmk1, xlnR, and fow1. In summary, the degeneration of Fon is triggered with successive subculture through aged mycelia. The degeneration showed significant impacts on virulence to watermelon, which was correlated with the reduction of CWDEs activities and declining expression of a set of virulence-related genes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Fungal Pathogenesis)
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Article
Fusarium Consortium Populations Associated with Asparagus Crop in Spain and Their Role on Field Decline Syndrome
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 336; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040336 - 04 Dec 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1141
Abstract
Asparagus Decline Syndrome (ADS) is one of the main phytosanitary problems of asparagus crop worldwide. Diseased plants and soil samples from 41 fields from three main production areas of Spain were surveyed. Eight Fusarium species belonging to seven species complexes were identified in [...] Read more.
Asparagus Decline Syndrome (ADS) is one of the main phytosanitary problems of asparagus crop worldwide. Diseased plants and soil samples from 41 fields from three main production areas of Spain were surveyed. Eight Fusarium species belonging to seven species complexes were identified in soils: F. oxysporum, F. proliferatum, F. redolens, F. solanisensu stricto, F. equiseti, F. culmorum, F. compactum and F. acuminatum. Fusarium oxysporum was the most prevalent species. Statistical correlation (R2 = 88%) was established between F. oxysporum inoculum density and the average temperature of the warmest month. A relationship was also established between three crop factors (average temperature, crop age and F. oxysporum inoculum density) and field disease indices. Significant differences were observed between the distribution of F. oxysporum propagules in white and green asparagus fields. Thirteen Fusarium species belonging to seven species complexes were identified from roots of diseased plants, being F. oxysporum the most prevalent. F. proliferatum, F. oxysporum and F. redolens showed pathogenicity to asparagus and were the main species associated to ADS. Fusarium oxysporum was the species with the highest genetic diversity displaying 14 sequence-based haplotypes with no geographic differentiation. This work contributes to understanding the Fusarium complex associated to ADS for developing accurate integrated disease management strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Fungal Pathogenesis)
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Article
Cork Oak Endophytic Fungi as Potential Biocontrol Agents against Biscogniauxia mediterranea and Diplodia corticola
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 287; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040287 - 14 Nov 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1430
Abstract
An increase in cork oak diseases caused by Biscogniauxia mediterranea and Diplodia corticola has been reported in the last decade. Due to the high socio-economic and ecologic importance of this plant species in the Mediterranean Basin, the search for preventive or treatment measures [...] Read more.
An increase in cork oak diseases caused by Biscogniauxia mediterranea and Diplodia corticola has been reported in the last decade. Due to the high socio-economic and ecologic importance of this plant species in the Mediterranean Basin, the search for preventive or treatment measures to control these diseases is an urgent need. Fungal endophytes were recovered from cork oak trees with different disease severity levels, using culture-dependent methods. The results showed a higher number of potential pathogens than beneficial fungi such as cork oak endophytes, even in healthy plants. The antagonist potential of a selection of eight cork oak fungal endophytes was tested against B. mediterranea and D. corticola by dual-plate assays. The tested endophytes were more efficient in inhibiting D. corticola than B. mediterranea growth, but Simplicillium aogashimaense, Fimetariella rabenhorstii, Chaetomium sp. and Alternaria alternata revealed a high potential to inhibit the growth of both. Simplicillium aogashimaense caused macroscopic and microscopic mycelial/hyphal deformations and presented promising results in controlling both phytopathogens’ growth in vitro. The evaluation of the antagonistic potential of non-volatile and volatile compounds also revealed that A. alternata compounds could be further explored for inhibiting both pathogens. These findings provide valuable knowledge that can be further explored in in vivo assays to find a suitable biocontrol agent for these cork oak diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Fungal Pathogenesis)
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Article
Impact of Postharvest Handling on Preharvest Latent Infections Caused by Monilinia spp. in Nectarines
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 266; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040266 - 04 Nov 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 827
Abstract
Latent infections caused by Monilinia spp. in nectarines cause great economic losses since they are not detected and rejected at harvest and can appear at any time post-harvest, even at the consumer’s home. The effect of a pre-cooling chamber, water dump operation, and [...] Read more.
Latent infections caused by Monilinia spp. in nectarines cause great economic losses since they are not detected and rejected at harvest and can appear at any time post-harvest, even at the consumer’s home. The effect of a pre-cooling chamber, water dump operation, and cold-storage chamber on the activation and/or development of preharvest latent infections caused by Monilinia spp. on nectarines were studied under different postharvest conditions: (a) cold storage for 0, 1, or 3 d at 4 °C at either 75% relative humidity (RH) or 100% RH before water dumping, (b) water dumping for 10 minutes at 15 °C, and (c) cold storage for 0, 3, or 10 d at 4 °C at either 75% RH or 100% RH after water dumping. These storage conditions were transformed to fungal physiological time. For visualization of the latent infections caused by Monilinia spp., the nectarines were placed in sterile paper bags and frozen at −20 °C for 48 h in order to damage the epidermis. To compare different handling scenarios, the incidence of latent infection was modelled for physiological time description by a modified Gompertz model. The activation and/or development of preharvest natural latent infections caused by Monilinia spp. at postharvest was mainly related to temperature and incubation time at postharvest. Storing nectarines with any postharvest handling less than 11 days at 4 °C avoids brown rot symptoms and reduced the activation and/or development of pre-harvest latent infections caused by Monilinia spp., while more cold days caused the exponential phase of latent infection activation and/or development. The Gompertz model employed could be used for predicting the activation and/or development of latent infection caused by Monilinia spp. at postharvest conditions and looks at the postharvest life. To our knowledge, this is the first time that the effects of post-harvest handling on latent infections in fruit have been studied. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Fungal Pathogenesis)
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Article
Salt Solution Treatments Trigger Antioxidant Defense Response against Gray Mold Disease in Table Grapes
J. Fungi 2020, 6(3), 179; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6030179 - 18 Sep 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 1226
Abstract
To obtain a clear understanding of the mode of action of potassium bicarbonate (PB), sodium silicate (SSi) and calcium chelate (CCh) solutions (1%) in inducing resistance to gray mold disease in table grapes, enzymatic and nonenzymatic investigations were carried out. In particular, changes [...] Read more.
To obtain a clear understanding of the mode of action of potassium bicarbonate (PB), sodium silicate (SSi) and calcium chelate (CCh) solutions (1%) in inducing resistance to gray mold disease in table grapes, enzymatic and nonenzymatic investigations were carried out. In particular, changes in the activity of the enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD), ascorbate peroxidase (APX) and peroxidase (POD), total phenolic content and total flavonoid content were studied. As indirect action, PB, SSi and CCh reduced the incidence of gray mold by 43%, 50% and 41%, respectively. The highest activity of SOD was detected at 48 h in SSi-treated tissue, PB-treated tissue and CCh-treated tissue, and it was 1.7-, 1.4- and 1.2-fold higher, respectively, compared to the control. The APX activity was significantly higher in SSi-treated tissue than in the control at 24, 48 and 72 h and showed an increase in activity 2-fold for all times. Additionally, PB, SSi and CCh increased the activity of POD by 1.4-, 1.2- and 2.7-fold at 48 h posttreatment, respectively. The results showed that CCh was the most pronounced salt to increase both total phenol and flavonoid contents by 1.3 and 2.1, respectively. Additionally, the three tested salts induced an increase in total phenols and total flavonoids at 48 h posttreatment. The obtained result is one more movement towards an overall understanding of the mechanism by which salt solutions act as antimicrobial agents against gray mold of table grapes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Fungal Pathogenesis)
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Article
EFE-Mediated Ethylene Synthesis Is the Major Pathway in the Citrus Postharvest Pathogen Penicillium digitatum during Fruit Infection
J. Fungi 2020, 6(3), 175; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6030175 - 17 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1166
Abstract
Penicillium digitatum is the main fungal postharvest pathogen of citrus fruit under Mediterranean climate conditions. The role of ethylene in the P. digitatum–citrus fruit interaction is unclear and controversial. We analyzed the involvement of the 2-oxoglutarate-dependent ethylene-forming enzyme (EFE)-encoding gene (efeA [...] Read more.
Penicillium digitatum is the main fungal postharvest pathogen of citrus fruit under Mediterranean climate conditions. The role of ethylene in the P. digitatum–citrus fruit interaction is unclear and controversial. We analyzed the involvement of the 2-oxoglutarate-dependent ethylene-forming enzyme (EFE)-encoding gene (efeA) of P. digitatum on the pathogenicity of the fungus. The expression of P. digitatumefeA parallels ethylene production during growth on PDA medium, with maximum levels reached during sporulation. We generated ΔefeA knockout mutants in P. digitatum strain Pd1. These mutants showed no significant defect on mycelial growth or sporulation compared to the parental strain. However, the knockout mutants did not produce ethylene in vitro. Citrus pathogenicity assays showed no differences in virulence between the parental and ΔefeA knockout mutant strains, despite a lack of ethylene production by the knockout mutant throughout the infection process. This result suggests that ethylene plays no role in P. digitatum pathogenicity. Our results clearly show that EFE-mediated ethylene synthesis is the major ethylene synthesis pathway in the citrus postharvest pathogen P. digitatum during both in vitro growth on PDA medium and the infection process, and that this hormone is not necessary for establishing P. digitatum infection in citrus fruit. However, our results also indicate that ethylene produced by P. digitatum during sporulation on the fruit surface may influence the development of secondary fungal infections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Fungal Pathogenesis)
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Article
Characterization of Five New Monosporascus Species: Adaptation to Environmental Factors, Pathogenicity to Cucurbits and Sensitivity to Fungicides
J. Fungi 2020, 6(3), 169; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6030169 - 10 Sep 2020
Viewed by 1058
Abstract
In this study, five new recently described Monosporascus species, M. brasiliensis, M. caatinguensis, M. mossoroensis, M. nordestinus, and M. semiaridus, which were found on weeds collected from cucurbit cultivation fields in northeastern Brazil, are [...] Read more.
In this study, five new recently described Monosporascus species, M. brasiliensis, M. caatinguensis, M. mossoroensis, M. nordestinus, and M. semiaridus, which were found on weeds collected from cucurbit cultivation fields in northeastern Brazil, are characterized regarding mycelial growth at different pH levels and salinity (NaCl) concentrations, their pathogenicity to selected cucurbit species, and their sensitivity to fungicides with different modes of action. Our results reveal great variability among the representative isolates of each Monosporascus spp. All of them showed a wide range of tolerance to different pH levels, and NaCl significantly reduced their in vitro mycelial growth, although no concentration was able to inhibit them completely. In pathogenicity tests, all seedlings of cucurbits evaluated, melon, watermelon, cucumber, and pumpkin, were susceptible to the five Monosporascus spp. in greenhouse experiments using artificial inoculation of roots. Moreover, all Monosporascus spp. were highly susceptible to the fungicides fludioxonil and fluazinam. Our findings provide relevant information about the response of these new Monosporascus spp. to environmental factors, plant genotypes and fungicides. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Fungal Pathogenesis)
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Article
Exploring the Extracellular Macromolecular Composition of Crude Extracts of Penicillium rubens Strain 212 for Elucidation Its Mode of Action as a Biocontrol Agent
J. Fungi 2020, 6(3), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6030131 - 10 Aug 2020
Viewed by 1060
Abstract
Penicillium rubens strain 212 (PO212) acts as an inducer of systemic resistance in tomato plants. The effect of crude extracellular extracts of PO212 on the soil-borne pathogen Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici has been evaluated. Evidence of the involvement of soluble, thermo-labile, and [...] Read more.
Penicillium rubens strain 212 (PO212) acts as an inducer of systemic resistance in tomato plants. The effect of crude extracellular extracts of PO212 on the soil-borne pathogen Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici has been evaluated. Evidence of the involvement of soluble, thermo-labile, and proteinase-inactivated macromolecules present in PO212 crude extracts in the control of Fusarium vascular disease in tomato plants was found. Proteomic techniques and the availability of the access to the PO212 genome database have allowed the identification of glycosyl hydrolases, oxidases, and peptidases in these extracellular extracts. Furthermore, a bioassay-guided fractionation of PO212 crude extracellular extracts using an integrated membrane/solid phase extraction process was set up. This method enabled the separation of a PO212 crude extracellular extract of seven days of growth into four fractions of different molecular sizes and polarities: high molecular mass protein fraction >5 kDa, middle molecular mass protein fraction 5–1 kDa, low molecular mass metabolite fraction, and nutrients from culture medium (mainly glucose and minerals). The high and middle molecular mass protein fractions retained disease control activity in a way similar to that of the control extracts. Proteomic techniques have allowed the identification of nine putatively secreted proteins in the high molecular mass protein fraction matching those identified in the total crude extracts. Therefore, these enzymes are considered to be potentially responsible of the crude extracellular extract-induced resistance in tomato plants against F. oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici. Further studies are required to establish which of the identified proteins participate in the PO212’s action mode as a biocontrol agent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Fungal Pathogenesis)
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Article
Soil Bioassay for Detecting Magnaporthiopsis maydis Infestation Using a Hyper Susceptible Maize Hybrid
J. Fungi 2020, 6(3), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6030107 - 13 Jul 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1270
Abstract
Magnaporthiopsis maydis is the causal agent of severe maize late wilt disease. Disease outbreak occurs at the maize flowering and fruit development stage, leading to the plugging of the plant’s water vascular system, resulting in dehydration and collapse of the infected host plant. [...] Read more.
Magnaporthiopsis maydis is the causal agent of severe maize late wilt disease. Disease outbreak occurs at the maize flowering and fruit development stage, leading to the plugging of the plant’s water vascular system, resulting in dehydration and collapse of the infected host plant. The pathogen is borne by alternative hosts, infected seeds, soil, and plant residues and gradually spreads to new areas and new countries. However, no soil assay is available today that can detect M. maydis infestation and study its prevalence. We recently developed a molecular quantitative Real-Time PCR (qPCR) method enabling the detection of the M. maydis DNA in plant tissues. Despite the technique’s high sensitivity, the direct examination of soil samples can be inconsistent. To face this challenge, the current work demonstrates the use of a soil bioassay involving the cultivation of a hyper-susceptible maize genotype (Megaton cultivar, Hazera Seeds Ltd., Berurim MP Shikmim, Israel) on inspected soils. The use of Megaton cv. may facilitate pathogen establishment and spread inside the plant’s tissues, and ease the isolation and enrichment of the pathogen from the soil. Indeed, this cultivar suffers from severe dehydration sudden death when grown in an infested field. The qPCR method was able to accurately and consistently identify and quantify the pathogen’s DNA in an in vitro seed assay after seven days, and in growth-chamber potted plants at as early as three weeks. These results now enable the use of this highly susceptible testing plant to validate the presence of the maize late wilt pathogen in infested soils and to evaluate the degree of its prevalence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Fungal Pathogenesis)
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Article
A Comprehensive Gene Expression Profile of Pectin Degradation Enzymes Reveals the Molecular Events during Cell Wall Degradation and Pathogenesis of Rice Sheath Blight Pathogen Rhizoctonia solani AG1-IA
J. Fungi 2020, 6(2), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6020071 - 25 May 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2440
Abstract
Sheath blight disease of rice caused by Rhizoctonia solani Kühn (teleomorph: Thanatephorus cucumeris) remains a global challenge due to the absence of reliable resistance genes and poor understanding of pathogen biology. Pectin, one of the most vital constituents of the plant cell [...] Read more.
Sheath blight disease of rice caused by Rhizoctonia solani Kühn (teleomorph: Thanatephorus cucumeris) remains a global challenge due to the absence of reliable resistance genes and poor understanding of pathogen biology. Pectin, one of the most vital constituents of the plant cell wall, is targeted by pectin methylesterases, polygalacturonases, and few other enzymes of fungal pathogens. In this study, we catalogued the expressed genes of the fungal genome from RNAseq of R. solani infected four rice genotypes. Analysis of RNAseq revealed 3325 pathogen genes commonly expressed in all rice genotypes, in which 49, 490, and 83 genes were specific to BPT5204, Tetep, and Pankaj genotypes, respectively. To identify the early and late responding genes of R. solani during plant cell wall degradation, a real-time PCR analysis of 30 pectinolytic enzymes was done at six different time points after inoculation. The majority of these genes showed maximum induction at the 72 h time point, suggesting that it is the most crucial stage of infection. Pankaj showed lesser induction of these genes as compared to other genotypes. Leaf-blade tissue and 45 days old-growth stage are more favorable for the expression of pectin degradation genes of R. solani. Additionally, the expression analysis of these genes from four different strains of R. solani suggested differential regulation of genes but no distinct expression pattern between highly virulent and mild strains. The implications of the differential regulation of these genes in disease development have been discussed. This study provides the first such comprehensive analysis of R. solani genes encoding pectin degrading enzymes, which would help to decipher the pathogen biology and sheath blight disease development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Fungal Pathogenesis)
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Article
Potential Role of Laccases in the Relationship of the Maize Late Wilt Causal Agent, Magnaporthiopsis maydis, and Its Host
J. Fungi 2020, 6(2), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6020063 - 17 May 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1280
Abstract
Late wilt is a vascular disease of maize (Zea mays L.) caused by the soil-borne and seed-borne fungus Magnaporthiopsis maydis. The pathogen penetrates the roots of maize plants at the seedling stage, grows into the xylem vessels, and gradually spreads upwards. From [...] Read more.
Late wilt is a vascular disease of maize (Zea mays L.) caused by the soil-borne and seed-borne fungus Magnaporthiopsis maydis. The pathogen penetrates the roots of maize plants at the seedling stage, grows into the xylem vessels, and gradually spreads upwards. From the flowering stage to the kernel ripening, the fungal hyphae and secreted materials block the water supply in susceptible maize cultivars, leading to rapid dehydration and death. Laccase is an enzyme secreted by fungus for diverse purposes. The M. maydis laccase gene was identified in our laboratory, but under what conditions it is expressed and to what functions remain unknown. In the current study, we tested the influence of plant age and tissue source (roots or leaves) on M. maydis laccase secretion. The results show increasing laccase secretion as corn parts (as ground tissue) were added to the minimal medium (MM). Furthermore, roots stimulated laccase secretion more than leaves, and adult plants enhanced laccase secretion more than young plants. This implies the possibility that the richer lignin tissue of adult plants may cause increased secretion of the enzyme. In vitro pathogenicity assay proved the ability of M. maydis to develop inside detached roots of maize, barley, watermelon, and cotton but not peanut. Testing root powder from those plants in MM revealed a negative correlation between M. maydis growth (expressed as biomass) and laccase secretion. For example, while the addition of maize, barley, or cotton root powder led to increasing fungal dry weight, it also resulted in relatively lower laccase activity. Watermelon and peanut root powder led to opposite responses. These findings suggest a pivotal role of laccase in the ability of M. maydis to exploit and grow on different host tissues. The results encourage further examination and a deeper understanding of the laccase role in these interesting host–pathogen interactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Fungal Pathogenesis)
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Article
Molecular Tracking and Remote Sensing to Evaluate New Chemical Treatments Against the Maize Late Wilt Disease Causal Agent, Magnaporthiopsis maydis
J. Fungi 2020, 6(2), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6020054 - 27 Apr 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1601
Abstract
Late wilt is a destructive disease of corn: outbreaks occur at the advanced growth stage and lead to severe dehydration of susceptible hybrids. The disease’s causal agent is the fungus Magnaporthiopsis maydis, whose spread relies on infested soils, seeds, and several alternative [...] Read more.
Late wilt is a destructive disease of corn: outbreaks occur at the advanced growth stage and lead to severe dehydration of susceptible hybrids. The disease’s causal agent is the fungus Magnaporthiopsis maydis, whose spread relies on infested soils, seeds, and several alternative hosts. The current study aimed at advancing our understanding of the nature of this plant disease and revealing new ways to monitor and control it. Two field experiments were conducted in a heavily infested area in northern Israel seeded with highly sensitive corn hybrid. The first experiment aimed at inspecting the Azoxystrobin (AS) fungicide applied by spraying during and after the land tillage. Unexpectedly, the disease symptoms in this field were minor and yields were high. Nevertheless, up to 100% presence of the pathogen within the plant’s tissues was measured using the quantitative real-time PCR method. The highest AS concentration tested was the most effective treatment, and resulted in a 6% increase in cob yield and a 4% increase in A-class yield. In the second experiment conducted in the following summer of the same year in a nearby field, the disease outbreak was dramatically higher, with about 350 times higher levels of the pathogen DNA in the untreated plots’ plants. In this field, fungicide mixtures were applied using a dripline assigned for two coupling rows. The most successful treatment was AS and the Difenoconazole mixture, in which the number of infected plants decreased by 79%, and a 116% increase in crop yield was observed, along with a 41% increase in crop quality. Evaluation of the effectiveness of the treatments on the plants’ health using a remote, thermal infra-red sensitive camera supported the results and proved to be an essential research tool. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Fungal Pathogenesis)
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Review

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Review
Phytophthora palmivora–Cocoa Interaction
J. Fungi 2020, 6(3), 167; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6030167 - 09 Sep 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2582
Abstract
Phytophthora palmivora (Butler) is an hemibiotrophic oomycete capable of infecting over 200 plant species including one of the most economically important crops, Theobroma cacao L. commonly known as cocoa. It infects many parts of the cocoa plant including the pods, causing black pod [...] Read more.
Phytophthora palmivora (Butler) is an hemibiotrophic oomycete capable of infecting over 200 plant species including one of the most economically important crops, Theobroma cacao L. commonly known as cocoa. It infects many parts of the cocoa plant including the pods, causing black pod rot disease. This review will focus on P. palmivora’s ability to infect a plant host to cause disease. We highlight some current findings in other Phytophthora sp. plant model systems demonstrating how the germ tube, the appressorium and the haustorium enable the plant pathogen to penetrate a plant cell and how they contribute to the disease development in planta. This review explores the molecular exchange between the oomycete and the plant host, and the role of plant immunity during the development of such structures, to understand the infection of cocoa pods by P. palmivora isolates from Papua New Guinea. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Fungal Pathogenesis)
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