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PLoS Pathog. 2012 Feb;8(2):e1002514. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1002514. Epub 2012 Feb 9.

Genome-wide transcriptional profiling of appressorium development by the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae.

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College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom.


The rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae is one of the most significant pathogens affecting global food security. To cause rice blast disease the fungus elaborates a specialised infection structure called an appressorium. Here, we report genome wide transcriptional profile analysis of appressorium development using next generation sequencing (NGS). We performed both RNA-Seq and High-Throughput SuperSAGE analysis to compare the utility of these procedures for identifying differential gene expression in M. oryzae. We then analysed global patterns of gene expression during appressorium development. We show evidence for large-scale gene expression changes, highlighting the role of autophagy, lipid metabolism and melanin biosynthesis in appressorium differentiation. We reveal the role of the Pmk1 MAP kinase as a key global regulator of appressorium-associated gene expression. We also provide evidence for differential expression of transporter-encoding gene families and specific high level expression of genes involved in quinate uptake and utilization, consistent with pathogen-mediated perturbation of host metabolism during plant infection. When considered together, these data provide a comprehensive high-resolution analysis of gene expression changes associated with cellular differentiation that will provide a key resource for understanding the biology of rice blast disease.

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