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Trends Plant Sci. 2002 Aug;7(8):352-6.

Plant infection and the establishment of fungal biotrophy.

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Dept of Biology, University of Konstanz, Universitätsstrasse 10, 78457 Konstanz, Germany.


To exploit plants as living substrates, biotrophic fungi have evolved remarkable variations of their tubular cells, the hyphae. They form infection structures such as appressoria, penetration hyphae and infection hyphae to invade the plant with minimal damage to host cells. To establish compatibility with the host, controlled secretory activity and distinct interface layers appear to be essential. Colletotrichum species switch from initial biotrophic to necrotrophic growth and are amenable to mutant analysis and molecular studies. Obligate biotrophic rust fungi can form the most specialized hypha: the haustorium. Gene expression and immunocytological studies with rust fungi support the idea that the haustorium is a transfer apparatus for the long-term absorption of host nutrients.

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