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J Plant Physiol. 2008 Jan;165(1):41-51. Epub 2007 Sep 4.

The hemibiotrophic lifestyle of Colletotrichum species.

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Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Phytopathology and Plant Protection, Ludwig-Wucherer-Str. 2, 06108 Halle (Saale), Germany.


Colletotrichum species infect several economically important crop plants. To establish a compatible parasitic interaction, a specialized infection cell, the melanized appressorium, is differentiated on the cuticle of the host. After penetration, an infection vesicle and primary hyphae are formed. These structures do not kill the host cell and show some similarities with haustoria formed by powdery mildews and rust fungi. Therefore, this stage of infection is called biotrophic. Later in the infection process, necrotrophic secondary hyphae spread within and kill the host tissue. The lifestyle of Colletotrichum species is called hemibiotrophic, as biotrophic and necrotrophic developmental stages are sequentially established. As most Colletotrichum species are accessible to molecular techniques, genes can be identified and functionally characterized. Here we demonstrate that Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation is a well-suited method for tagging of genes mediating compatibility in the Colletotrichum graminicola-maize interaction.

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