Why does the fungus infect the plant? (2009)

Nora Temme

Birgitt Oeser, Paul Tudzynski

Fachbereich, Studienrichtung:
Biologie, Institut für Botanik, Molekularbiologie und Biotechnologie der Pilze

Why does the fungus infect the plant? – Micro array analysis at different stages of infection of the plant-pathogenic fungus Botrytis cinerea


Nora Temme
Institut für Botanik
Molekularbiologie und Biotechnologie der Pilze
Schlossgarten 3
48149 Münster

Early infection stages of a pathogen on its host are a complex challenging research field as the process of pathogenesis is not only dependent on the driving force of the invading microbe but also on the power of resistance of the host organism. Thus these first steps of pathogen-host interaction are very often the crux that decides on successful infection.

The filamentous ascomycete Botrytis cinerea is a necrotrophic phytopathogenic fungus with a broad host range including economically important fruits and ornamental flowers. Knowledge of the regulation of early infection steps (conidiospore germination > penetration > host invasion) in vivo is still limited and of great interest for the understanding of fungal pathogenesis. In our project gene expression profiles of these different stages of infection obtained from a microarray approach (B. cinerea 4-plex arrays, Roche NimbleGen Systems) were now be used to answer questions concerning sensing and signalling systems important for the host surface recognition, for the germination of the attached fungal spore, for regulation of host tissue penetration and finally for host plant killing.

Our microarray experiments revealed gene expression profiles that can directly be linked to gene functions during pathogenesis. Thus the data we have obtained in this project are a reliable pool to identify factors related to host infection and can be used for systematic identification of fungal virulence factors. With this information we can build a signalling network that will help to understand sensing and signalling processes during the pathogen-host interaction. This will allow for an improved targeted fungicide synthesis and for more efficient disease control.