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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2010 Aug;13(4):420-6. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2010.04.004. Epub 2010 May 13.

The genomic organization of plant pathogenicity in Fusarium species.

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Plant Pathology, Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Amsterdam, P.O. Box 94215, 1090 GE Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Comparative genomics is a powerful tool to infer the molecular basis of fungal pathogenicity and its evolution by identifying differences in gene content and genomic organization between fungi with different hosts or modes of infection. Through comparative analysis, pathogenicity-related chromosomes have been identified in Fusarium oxysporum and Fusarium solani that contain genes for host-specific virulence. Lateral transfer of pathogenicity chromosomes, inferred from genomic data, now has been experimentally confirmed. Likewise, comparative genomics reveals the evolutionary relationships among toxin gene clusters whereby the loss and gain of genes from the cluster may be understood in an evolutionary context of toxin diversification. The genomic milieu of effector genes, encoding small secreted proteins, also suggests mechanisms that promote genetic diversification for the benefit of the pathogen.

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