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Plant Signal Behav. 2015;10(4):e1001227. doi: 10.1080/15592324.2014.1001227.

Appressorium formation in the corn smut fungus Ustilago maydis requires a G2 cell cycle arrest.

Author information

1
a Instituto de Biología Funcional y Genómica ; Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas ; Salamanca , Spain.

Abstract

Many of the most important plant diseases are caused by fungal pathogens that form specialized cell structures to breach the leaf surface as well as to proliferate inside the plant. To initiate pathogenic development, the fungus responds to a set of inductive cues. Some of them are of extracellular nature (environmental signals) while others respond to intracellular conditions (developmental signals). These signals have to be integrated into a single response that has as a major outcome changes in the morphogenesis of the fungus. The cell cycle regulation is pivotal during these cellular differentiations, and we hypothesized that cell cycle regulation would be likely to provide control points for infection development by fungal pathogens. Although efforts have been done in various fungal systems, there is still limited information available regarding the relationship of these processes with the induction of the virulence programs. Hence, the role of fungal cell cycle regulators -which are wide conserved elements- as true virulence factors, has yet to be defined. Here we discuss the recent finding that the formation of the appressorium, a structure required for plant penetration, in the corn smut fungus Ustilago maydis seems to be incompatible with an active cell cycle and, therefore genetic circuits evolved in this fungus to arrest the cell cycle during the growth of this fungus on plant surface, before the appressorium-mediated penetration into the plant tissue.

KEYWORDS:

appressorium; cell cycle; corn smut; phytopathogenic fungus; ustilago maydis; virulence

PMID:
25876077
PMCID:
PMC4623337
DOI:
10.1080/15592324.2014.1001227
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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