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Rescooped by Guogen Yang from Plants and Microbes
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PNAS: Phytophthora effector targets a novel component of small RNA pathway in plants to promote infection (2015)

PNAS: Phytophthora effector targets a novel component of small RNA pathway in plants to promote infection (2015) | Plant-Microbe Interaction | Scoop.it

Phytophthora is a major threat to agriculture. However, the molecular interaction of these severe pathogens with plant hosts is poorly understood. Here, we report that the Phytophthora Suppressor of RNA Silencing 1 (PSR1) effectively promotes infection in Arabidopsis thaliana by directly targeting an essential protein containing a aspartate–glutamate–alanine–histidine-box RNA helicase domain. This PSR1-Interacting Protein 1 (PINP1) is required for the accumulation of distinct classes of endogenous small RNAs and acts as a positive regulator of plant immunity. Silencing of PINP1 impaired the assembly of microRNA-processing complexes in the nucleus, leading to defects in development and immunity. This study revealed a conserved RNA helicase as a regulator of RNA silencing and provides mechanistic insight into Phytophthora pathogenesis.


Via Kamoun Lab @ TSL
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Rescooped by Guogen Yang from MycorWeb Plant-Microbe Interactions
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Plant Cell: A Secreted Effector Protein of Ustilago maydis Guides Maize Leaf Cells to Form Tumors (2015)

Plant Cell: A Secreted Effector Protein of Ustilago maydis Guides Maize Leaf Cells to Form Tumors (2015) | Plant-Microbe Interaction | Scoop.it

The biotrophic smut fungus Ustilago maydis infects all aerial organs of maize (Zea mays) and induces tumors in the plant tissues. U. maydis deploys many effector proteins to manipulate its host. Previously, deletion analysis demonstrated that several effectors have important functions in inducing tumor expansion specifically in maize leaves. Here, we present the functional characterization of the effector See1 (Seedling efficient effector1). See1 is required for the reactivation of plant DNA synthesis, which is crucial for tumor progression in leaf cells. By contrast, See1 does not affect tumor formation in immature tassel floral tissues, where maize cell proliferation occurs independent of fungal infection. See1 interacts with a maize homolog of SGT1 (Suppressor of G2 allele of skp1), a factor acting in cell cycle progression in yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and an important component of plant and human innate immunity. See1 interferes with the MAPK-triggered phosphorylation of maize SGT1 at a monocot-specific phosphorylation site. We propose that See1 interferes with SGT1 activity, resulting in both modulation of immune responses and reactivation of DNA synthesis in leaf cells. This identifies See1 as a fungal effector that directly and specifically contributes to the formation of leaf tumors in maize.


Via Kamoun Lab @ TSL, Francis Martin
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Molecular Plant Pathology: A new look at plant viruses and their potential beneficial roles in crops (2015)

Molecular Plant Pathology: A new look at plant viruses and their potential beneficial roles in crops (2015) | Plant-Microbe Interaction | Scoop.it

Twenty years ago most people (including many scientists) thought of bacteria solely as agents of disease, best treated with disinfectants and antibiotics. Today, most of us are aware that bacteria make up almost 90% of the cells in our bodies, and play a critical role in digestion and the immune response. In plants, bacteria also form important mutualistic relationships, providing nitrogen fixation, growth enhancement and defence against pathogens, and undoubtedly a host of other functions that have yet to be described. The stigma of bacteria has changed dramatically in recent decades, and most people are aware that we need our good microbes.

 

Although there have been recent efforts to characterize the plant microbiome with a focus on finding beneficial microbes, viruses generally have not been included in the beneficial microbe lists (Berg et al., 2014, and references cited therein). Recent work has indicated that they can also play important and beneficial roles in plants, especially in extreme environments in which they are involved in conferring tolerance to drought, cold and hot soil temperatures (Roossinck, 2011). Beneficial viruses are defined for the purposes of this discussion as viruses that provide a trait to crop plants that increases their value or growth potential, or decreases the need for the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides.

 

See also http://www.noble.org/ag/research/microbes/


Via Kamoun Lab @ TSL
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The population biology of fungal invasions - Gladieux - 2015 - Molecular Ecology - Wiley Online Library

The population biology of fungal invasions - Gladieux - 2015 - Molecular Ecology - Wiley Online Library | Plant-Microbe Interaction | Scoop.it
Fungal invasions are increasingly recognized as a significant component of global changes, threatening ecosystem health and damaging food production. Invasive fungi also provide excellent models to evaluate the generality of results based on other eukaryotes. We first consider here the reasons why fungal invasions have long been overlooked: they tend to be inconspicuous, and inappropriate methods have been used for species recognition. We then review the information available on the patterns and mechanisms of fungal invasions. We examine the biological features underlying invasion success of certain fungal species. We review population structure analyses, revealing native source populations and strengths of bottlenecks. We highlight the documented ecological and evolutionary changes in invaded regions, including adaptation to temperature, increased virulence, hybridization, shifts to clonality and association with novel hosts. We discuss how the huge census size of most fungi allows adaptation even in bottlenecked, clonal invaders. We also present new analyses of the invasion of the anther-smut pathogen on white campion in North America, as a case study illustrating how an accurate knowledge of species limits and phylogeography of fungal populations can be used to decipher the origin of invasions. This case study shows that successful invasions can occur even when life history traits are particularly unfavourable to long-distance dispersal and even with a strong bottleneck. We conclude that fungal invasions are valuable models to contribute to our view of biological invasions, in particular by providing insights into the traits as well as ecological and evolutionary processes allowing successful introductions.

Via Francis Martin
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GATA-Dependent Glutaminolysis Drives Appressorium Formation in Magnaporthe oryzae by Suppressing TOR Inhibition of cAMP/PKA Signaling

GATA-Dependent Glutaminolysis Drives Appressorium Formation in  Magnaporthe oryzae  by Suppressing TOR Inhibition of cAMP/PKA Signaling | Plant-Microbe Interaction | Scoop.it
Fungal plant pathogens are persistent and global food security threats. To invade their hosts they often form highly specialized infection structures, known as appressoria. The cAMP/ PKA- and MAP kinase-signaling cascades have been functionally delineated as positive-acting pathways required for appressorium development. Negative-acting regulatory pathways that block appressorial development are not known. Here, we present the first detailed evidence that the conserved Target of Rapamycin (TOR) signaling pathway is a powerful inhibitor of appressorium formation by the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae. We determined TOR signaling was activated in an M. oryzae mutant strain lacking a functional copy of the GATA transcription factor-encoding gene ASD4. Δasd4 mutant strains could not form appressoria and expressed GLN1, a glutamine synthetase-encoding orthologue silenced in wild type. Inappropriate expression of GLN1 increased the intracellular steady-state levels of glutamine in Δasd4 mutant strains during axenic growth when compared to wild type. Deleting GLN1 lowered glutamine levels and promoted appressorium formation by Δasd4 strains. Furthermore, glutamine is an agonist of TOR. Treating Δasd4 mutant strains with the specific TOR kinase inhibitor rapamycin restored appressorium development. Rapamycin was also shown to induce appressorium formation by wild type and Δcpka mutant strains on non-inductive hydrophilic surfaces but had no effect on the MAP kinase mutant Δpmk1. When taken together, we implicate Asd4 in regulating intracellular glutamine levels in order to modulate TOR inhibition of appressorium formation downstream of cPKA. This study thus provides novel insight into the metabolic mechanisms that underpin the highly regulated process of appressorium development.

Via Elsa Ballini
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Host genotype is an important determinant of the cereal phyllosphere mycobiome

The phyllosphere mycobiome in cereals is an important determinant of crop health. However, an understanding of the factors shaping this community is lacking.
Fungal diversity in leaves from a range of cultivars of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum), winter and spring barley (Hordeum vulgare) and a smaller number of samples from oat (Avena sativa), rye (Secale cereale) and triticale (Triticum × Secale) was studied using next-generation sequencing. The effects of host genotype, fungicide treatment and location on fungal communities were explored.
In total, 635 251 fungal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) reads were obtained from 210 leaf samples. Visual disease assessments and relative read abundance of Zymoseptoria tritici and Ramularia collo-cygni were strongly positively related. Crop genotype at the species level explained 43% of the variance in the total dataset, followed by fungicide treatment (13%) and location (4%). Indicator species, including plant pathogens, responding to factors such as crop species, location and treatment were identified.
Host genotype at both the species and cultivar level is important in shaping phyllosphere fungal communities, whereas fungicide treatment and location have minor effects. We found many host-specific fungal pathogens, but also a large diversity of fungi that were relatively insensitive to host genetic background, indicating that host-specific pathogens live in a ‘sea’ of nonspecific fungi.

Via Jean-Michel Ané
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Rescooped by Guogen Yang from Fungal|Oomycete Biology
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Contrasting Diversity and Host Association of Ectomycorrhizal Basidiomycetes versus Root-Associated Ascomycetes in a Dipterocarp Rainforest

Contrasting Diversity and Host Association of Ectomycorrhizal Basidiomycetes versus Root-Associated Ascomycetes in a Dipterocarp Rainforest | Plant-Microbe Interaction | Scoop.it

Root-associated fungi, including ectomycorrhizal and root-endophytic fungi, are among the most diverse and important belowground plant symbionts in dipterocarp rainforests. Our study aimed to reveal the biodiversity, host association, and community structure of ectomycorrhizal Basidiomycota and root-associated Ascomycota (including root-endophytic Ascomycota) in a lowland dipterocarp rainforest in Southeast Asia. The host plant chloroplast ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase large subunit (rbcL) region and fungal internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) region were sequenced using tag-encoded, massively parallel 454 pyrosequencing to identify host plant and root-associated fungal taxa in root samples. In total, 1245 ascomycetous and 127 putative ectomycorrhizal basidiomycetous taxa were detected from 442 root samples. The putative ectomycorrhizal Basidiomycota were likely to be associated with closely related dipterocarp taxa to greater or lesser extents, whereas host association patterns of the root-associated Ascomycota were much less distinct. The community structure of the putative ectomycorrhizal Basidiomycota was possibly more influenced by host genetic distances than was that of the root-associated Ascomycota. This study also indicated that in dipterocarp rainforests, root-associated Ascomycota were characterized by high biodiversity and indistinct host association patterns, whereas ectomycorrhizal Basidiomycota showed less biodiversity and a strong host phylogenetic preference for dipterocarp trees. Our findings lead to the working hypothesis that root-associated Ascomycota, which might be mainly represented by root-endophytic fungi, have biodiversity hotspots in the tropics, whereas biodiversity of ectomycorrhizal Basidiomycota increases with host genetic diversity.


Via Christophe Jacquet, Alejandro Rojas
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The role of community and population ecology in applying mycorrhizal fungi for improved food security

The role of community and population ecology in applying mycorrhizal fungi for improved food security | Plant-Microbe Interaction | Scoop.it
The global human population is expected to reach ~9 billion by 2050. Feeding this many people represents a major challenge requiring global crop yield increases of up to 100%. Microbial symbionts of plants such as arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) represent a huge, but unrealized resource for improving yields of globally important crops, especially in the tropics. We argue that the application of AMF in agriculture is too simplistic and ignores basic ecological principals. To achieve this challenge, a community and population ecology approach can contribute greatly. First, ecologists could significantly improve our understanding of the determinants of the survival of introduced AMF, the role of adaptability and intraspecific diversity of AMF and whether inoculation has a direct or indirect effect on plant production. Second, we call for extensive metagenomics as well as population genomics studies that are crucial to assess the environmental impact that introduction of non-local AMF may have on native AMF communities and populations. Finally, we plead for an ecologically sound use of AMF in efforts to increase food security at a global scale in a sustainable manner.

Via Jean-Michel Ané, Pedobiologia: Journal of Soil Ecology, Francis Martin
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Jean-Michel Ané's curator insight, April 21, 3:38 PM

Excellent review

Pedobiologia: Journal of Soil Ecology's curator insight, April 21, 6:33 PM

All are important questions to answer, but what about the question: what are the characteristics that make an AM fungus beneficial in an agricultural context? A trait-based approach would address this and some of the questions posed in the review.

Rescooped by Guogen Yang from Plant Immunity And Microbial Effectors
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Phytophthora effector targets a novel component of small RNA pathway in plants to promote infection

Phytophthora is a major threat to agriculture. However, the molecular interaction of these severe pathogens with plant hosts is poorly understood. Here, we report that the Phytophthora Suppressor of RNA Silencing 1 (PSR1) effectively promotes infection in Arabidopsis thaliana by directly targeting an essential protein containing a aspartate–glutamate–alanine–histidine-box RNA helicase domain. This PSR1-Interacting Protein 1 (PINP1) is required for the accumulation of distinct classes of endogenous small RNAs and acts as a positive regulator of plant immunity. Silencing of PINP1 impaired the assembly of microRNA-processing complexes in the nucleus, leading to defects in development and immunity. This study revealed a conserved RNA helicase as a regulator of RNA silencing and provides mechanistic insight into Phytophthora pathogenesis.


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Self-DNA: a blessing in disguise?

Self-DNA: a blessing in disguise? | Plant-Microbe Interaction | Scoop.it
Mazzoleni et al. (2015a,b) in two recent papers provided novel and rigorous evidence for a unique detrimental effect of self-DNA (i.e. DNA originating from conspecifics) on organismal growth. The authors investigated the effect as a means of explaining plant–soil feedbacks via plant litter (Mazzoleni et al., 2015a) and subsequently convincingly generalized their observations to a range of additional organisms including protozoa, algae, fungi and animals. The authors explain the growth suppression on the basis of inhibitory effects of self-DNA. They argue that this inhibition mechanism, through facilitating coexistence, represents a mechanism of maintaining diversity. The ecological, physiological and molecular significance of the observations of Mazzoleni et al. (2015a,b) is thought-provoking. A priority now is to start a discourse on the interpretation of the results of these studies, because this will help design focused experiments to further investigate the role of self-DNA on growth.

Via Francis Martin
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Jean-Michel Ané's curator insight, April 21, 9:45 AM
That's really a provoking idea indeed...
Pedobiologia: Journal of Soil Ecology's curator insight, April 21, 6:15 PM

Can self-DNA act as a signal of conspecific density? An excellent and contextual mechanistic proposal.

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Appressorium-mediated penetration of Magnaporthe oryzae and Colletotrichum orbiculare into surface-cross-linked agar media

Appressorium-mediated penetration of Magnaporthe oryzae and Colletotrichum orbiculare into surface-cross-linked agar media | Plant-Microbe Interaction | Scoop.it
Many phytopathogenic fungi form appressoria on some artificial substances. However, it is difficult to induce appressorium-mediated penetration into artificial substances. In the present study, novel artificial agar media were developed to investigate the in vitro penetration process of phytopathogenic fungi. The media contained sodium carboxymethyl cellulose or sodium alginate, and the surfaces were subjected to ionic cross-linking using trivalent metal ions. The hemibiotrophic phytopathogenic fungi, rice blast fungus and cucurbit anthracnose fungus, formed appressoria and penetrated into the surface cross-linked artificial agar media from the base of appressoria. These artificial media appeared to induce fungal infection behavior that occurred on host plants.

Via Elsa Ballini
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Plant defense phenotypes determine the consequences of volatile emission for individuals and neighbors

Plant defense phenotypes determine the consequences of volatile emission for individuals and neighbors | Plant-Microbe Interaction | Scoop.it
Both the frequency of sesquiterpene-emitting individuals and the defense capacity of individual plants determine the consequences of sesquiterpene volatile emission for individuals and their neighbors in populations of the wild tobacco Nicotiana attenuata.

Via Mary Williams
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MPP (2015): SOBIR1 requires the GxxxG dimerization motif in its transmembrane domain to form constitutive complexes with receptor-like proteins

MPP (2015): SOBIR1 requires the GxxxG dimerization motif in its transmembrane domain to form constitutive complexes with receptor-like proteins | Plant-Microbe Interaction | Scoop.it
Receptor-like proteins (RLPs), forming an important group of transmembrane receptors in plants, play roles in development and immunity. RLPs contain extracellular leucine-rich repeats (LRRs) and, in contrast to receptor-like kinases (RLKs), lack a cytoplasmic kinase required for initiating downstream signalling. Recent studies revealed that the RLK SOBIR1/EVR (SUPPRESSOR OF BIR1-1/EVERSHED) specifically interacts with RLPs. SOBIR1 stabilizes RLPs and is required for their function. However, the mechanism by which SOBIR1 associates with RLPs and regulates RLP function remains unknown. The Cf immune receptors of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), mediating resistance to the fungus Cladosporium fulvum, are RLPs that also interact with SOBIR1. Here, we show that both the LRR and kinase domain of SOBIR1 are dispensable for association with the RLP Cf-4, whereas the highly conserved GxxxGxxxG motif present in the transmembrane domain of SOBIR1 is essential for its interaction with Cf-4 and additional RLPs. Complementation assays in Nicotiana benthamiana, in which endogenous SOBIR1 levels were knocked-down by virus-induced gene silencing, showed that the LRR domain as well as kinase activity of SOBIR1 are required for the Cf-4/Avr4-triggered hypersensitive response (HR). In contrast, the LRRs and kinase activity of SOBIR1 are not required for facilitating Cf-4 accumulation. Together, these results suggest that in addition to being a stabilizing scaffold for RLPs, SOBIR1 is also required for initiating downstream signalling through its kinase domain.

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MPMI: A recent expansion of the RXLR effector gene Avrblb2 is maintained in global populations of Phytophthora infestans indicating different contributions to virulence (2015)

MPMI: A recent expansion of the RXLR effector gene Avrblb2 is maintained in global populations of Phytophthora infestans indicating different contributions to virulence (2015) | Plant-Microbe Interaction | Scoop.it

The introgression of disease resistance (R) genes encoding immunoreceptors with broad-spectrum recognition into cultivated potato appears to be the most promising approach to achieve sustainable management of late blight caused by the oomycete pathogen Phytophthora infestans. Rpi-blb2 from Solanum bulbocastanum, shows great potential for use in agriculture based on preliminary potato disease trials. Rpi-blb2 confers immunity by recognizing the P. infestans avirulence effector protein AVRblb2 after it is translocated inside the plant cell. This effector belongs to the RXLR class of effectors and is under strong positive selection. Structure-function analyses revealed a key polymorphic amino acid (position 69) in AVRblb2 effector that is critical for activation of Rpi-blb2. In this study, we reconstructed the evolutionary history of the Avrblb2 gene family and further characterized its genetic structure in worldwide populations. Our data indicates that Avrblb2 evolved as a single copy gene in a putative ancestral species of P. infestans and has recently expanded in the Phytophthora species that infect solanaceous hosts. As a consequence, at least four variants of AVRblb2 arose in P. infestans. One of these variants, with a Phe residue at position 69, evades recognition by the cognate resistance gene. Surprisingly, all Avrblb2 variants are maintained in pathogen populations. This suggests a potential benefit for the pathogen in preserving duplicated versions of AVRblb2 possibly because the variants may have different contributions to pathogen fitness in a diversified solanaceous host environment.


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Cover: Molecular Plant Pathology, April 2015

Cover: Molecular Plant Pathology, April 2015 | Plant-Microbe Interaction | Scoop.it

Cover caption: The sculpture by Rowan Gillespie is one of the many Great Famine memorials around the world. It depicts figures walking towards emigration ships on the Dublin Quayside. Photo courtesy of Michael Seidl.

 

The Top 10 oomycete pathogens in molecular plant pathology, Mol Plant Pathol http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/mpp.12190/abstract


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Using Hierarchical Clustering of Secreted Protein Families to Classify and Rank Candidate Effectors of Rust Fungi

Using Hierarchical Clustering of Secreted Protein Families to Classify and Rank Candidate Effectors of Rust Fungi | Plant-Microbe Interaction | Scoop.it
Rust fungi are obligate biotrophic pathogens that cause considerable damage on crop plants. Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici , the causal agent of wheat stem rust, and Melampsora larici-populina , the poplar leaf rust pathogen, have strong deleterious impacts on wheat and poplar wood production, respectively. Filamentous pathogens such as rust fungi secrete molecules called disease effectors that act as modulators of host cell physiology and can suppress or trigger host immunity. Current kn

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Deciphering the uniqueness of Mucoromycotina cell walls by combining biochemical and phylogenomic approaches

Deciphering the uniqueness of Mucoromycotina cell walls by combining biochemical and phylogenomic approaches | Plant-Microbe Interaction | Scoop.it
Most fungi from the Mucoromycotina lineage occur in ecosystems as saprobes, although some species are phytopathogens or may induce human mycosis. Mucoromycotina represent early diverging models that are most valuable for understanding fungal evolution. Here we reveal the uniqueness of the cell wall structure of the Mucoromycotina Rhizopus oryzae and Phycomyces blakesleeanus compared with the better characterized cell wall of the ascomycete Neurospora crassa. We have analysed the corresponding polysaccharide biosynthetic and modifying pathways, and highlight their evolutionary features and higher complexity in terms of gene copy numbers compared with species from other lineages. This work uncovers the presence in Mucoromycotina of abundant fucose-based polysaccharides similar to algal fucoidans. These unexpected polymers are associated with unusually low amounts of glucans and a higher proportion of chitin compared with N. crassa. The specific structural features are supported by the identification of genes potentially involved in the corresponding metabolic pathways. Phylogenomic analyses of genes encoding carbohydrate synthases, polysaccharide modifying enzymes and enzymes involved in nucleotide-sugar formation provide evidence for duplication events during evolution of cell wall metabolism in fungi. Altogether, the data highlight the specificity of Mucoromycotina cell walls and pave the way for a finer understanding of their metabolism.

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The Top 10 oomycete pathogens in molecular plant pathology

The Top 10 oomycete pathogens in molecular plant pathology | Plant-Microbe Interaction | Scoop.it
Oomycetes form a deep lineage of eukaryotic organisms that includes a large number of plant pathogens which threaten natural and managed ecosystems. We undertook a survey to query the community for their ranking of plant-pathogenic oomycete species based on scientific and economic importance. In total, we received 263 votes from 62 scientists in 15 countries for a total of 33 species. The Top 10 species and their ranking are: (1) Phytophthora infestans; (2, tied) Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis; (2, tied) Phytophthora ramorum; (4) Phytophthora sojae; (5) Phytophthora capsici; (6) Plasmopara viticola; (7) Phytophthora cinnamomi; (8, tied) Phytophthora parasitica; (8, tied) Pythium ultimum; and (10) Albugo candida. This article provides an introduction to these 10 taxa and a snapshot of current research. We hope that the list will serve as a benchmark for future trends in oomycete research.

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Role of transcriptional regulation in the evolution of plant phenotype: A dynamic systems approach (Great review for teaching)

Role of transcriptional regulation in the evolution of plant phenotype: A dynamic systems approach (Great review for teaching) | Plant-Microbe Interaction | Scoop.it

"A growing body of evidence suggests that alterations in transcriptional regulation of genes involved in modulating development are an important part of phenotypic evolution, and this can be documented among species and within populations. While the effects of differential transcriptional regulation in organismal development have been preferentially studied in animal systems, this phenomenon has also been addressed in plants. In this review, we summarize evidence for cis-regulatory mutations, trans-regulatory changes and epigenetic modifications as molecular events underlying important phenotypic alterations, and thus shaping the evolution of plant development."


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Mary Williams's curator insight, April 23, 4:06 AM

This would be a great review article to read with a genetics class

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Establishment of Anthoceros agrestis as a model species for studying the biology of hornworts

Establishment of Anthoceros agrestis as a model species for studying the biology of hornworts | Plant-Microbe Interaction | Scoop.it
Establishment of Anthoceros agrestis as a model species for studying the biology of hornworts

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Mary Williams's curator insight, April 21, 4:23 PM

"Methods and resources have been developed to enable A. agrestis to be used as a model species for developmental, molecular, genomic, and genetic studies. This advance provides an unprecedented opportunity to investigate the biology of hornworts"

Mila Bristow's curator insight, April 21, 7:33 PM

If you are starting to revise lifecycles for the exam, have a look at this. It might be useful. I might even use it for next year's teaching!

Rescooped by Guogen Yang from Plant Immunity And Microbial Effectors
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Genomic signature of selective sweeps illuminates adaptation of Medicago truncatula to root-associated microorganisms

Genomic signature of selective sweeps illuminates adaptation of Medicago truncatula to root-associated microorganisms | Plant-Microbe Interaction | Scoop.it

Medicago truncatula is a model legume species used to investigate plant-microorganism interactions, notably root symbioses. Massive population genomic and transcriptomic data now available for this species open the way for a comprehensive investigation of genomic variations associated with adaptation of M. truncatula to its environment. Here we performed a fine-scale genome scan of selective sweep signatures in Medicago truncatula using more than 15 million SNPs identified on 283 accessions from two populations (Circum and Far West), and exploited annotation and published transcriptomic data to identify biological processes associated with molecular adaptation. We identified 58 swept genomic regions with a 15 kb average length and comprising 3.3 gene models on average. The unimodal sweep state probability distribution in these regions enabled us to focus on the best single candidate gene per region. We detected two unambiguous species-wide selective sweeps, one of which appears to underlie morphological adaptation. Population genomic analyses of the remaining 56 sweep signatures indicate that sweeps identified in the Far West population are less population-specific and probably more ancient than those identified in the Circum population. Functional annotation revealed a predominance of immunity-related adaptations in the Circum population. Transcriptomic data from accessions of the Far West population allowed inference of four clusters of co-regulated genes putatively involved in the adaptive control of symbiotic carbon flow and nodule senescence, as well as in other root adaptations upon infection with soil microorganisms. We demonstrate that molecular adaptations in Medicago truncatula were primarily triggered by selective pressures from root-associated micro-organisms.


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Molecular signals required for the establishment and maintenance of ectomycorrhizal symbioses - Garcia - 2015 - New Phytologist - Wiley Online Library

Molecular signals required for the establishment and maintenance of ectomycorrhizal symbioses - Garcia - 2015 - New Phytologist - Wiley Online Library | Plant-Microbe Interaction | Scoop.it

Ectomycorrhizal (ECM) symbioses are among the most widespread associations between roots of woody plants and soil fungi in forest ecosystems. These associations contribute significantly to the sustainability and sustainagility of these ecosystems through nutrient cycling and carbon sequestration. Unfortunately, the molecular mechanisms controlling the mutual recognition between both partners are still poorly understood. Elegant work has demonstrated that effector proteins from ECM and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi regulate host defenses by manipulating plant hormonal pathways. In parallel, genetic and evolutionary studies in legumes showed that a ‘common symbiosis pathway’ is required for the establishment of the ancient AM symbiosis and has been recruited for the rhizobia–legume association. Given that genes of this pathway are present in many angiosperm trees that develop ectomycorrhizas, we propose their potential involvement in some but not all ECM associations. The maintenance of a successful long-term relationship seems strongly regulated by resource allocation between symbiotic partners, suggesting that nutrients themselves may serve as signals. This review summarizes our current knowledge on the early and late signal exchanges between woody plants and ECM fungi, and we suggest future directions for decoding the molecular basis of the underground dance between trees and their favorite fungal partners.


Via Kevin Garcia, Francis Martin
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The genome of cultivated sweet potato contains Agrobacterium T-DNAs with expressed genes: An example of a naturally transgenic food crop

The genome of cultivated sweet potato contains Agrobacterium T-DNAs with expressed genes: An example of a naturally transgenic food crop | Plant-Microbe Interaction | Scoop.it

"We communicate the rather remarkable observation that among 291 tested accessions of cultivated sweet potato, all contain one or more transfer DNA (T-DNA) sequences. These sequences, which are shown to be expressed in a cultivated sweet potato clone (“Huachano”) that was analyzed in detail, suggest that an Agrobacterium infection occurred in evolutionary times. One of the T-DNAs is apparently present in all cultivated sweet potato clones, but not in the crop’s closely related wild relatives, suggesting the T-DNA provided a trait or traits that were selected for during domestication. This finding draws attention to the importance of plant–microbe interactions, and given that this crop has been eaten for millennia, it may change the paradigm governing the “unnatural” status of transgenic crops. "


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Mary Williams's curator insight, April 21, 4:42 AM

Someone on facebook asked if this could be a consequence of contamination from pollen of GM crops. Here's my answer.


"No - there are two things that tell us that this has nothing to do with contamination from modern GMOs. First and most importantly, the Agrobacterium T-DNA genes found in sweet potato are not present in genetically-engineered crops. Instead, they are the native bacterial genes found in wild Agrobacterium T-DNA, which are removed when this organism is used for gene transfer protocols. Second, this cluster of genes is conserved in several hundred cultivated varieties, indicating that it was introduced into the sweet potato genome long ago (thousands of years?), long before biotechnology was invented."

Rescooped by Guogen Yang from MycorWeb Plant-Microbe Interactions
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Contrasting Diversity and Host Association of Ectomycorrhizal Basidiomycetes versus Root-Associated Ascomycetes in a Dipterocarp Rainforest

Contrasting Diversity and Host Association of Ectomycorrhizal Basidiomycetes versus Root-Associated Ascomycetes in a Dipterocarp Rainforest | Plant-Microbe Interaction | Scoop.it
Root-associated fungi, including ectomycorrhizal and root-endophytic fungi, are among the most diverse and important belowground plant symbionts in dipterocarp rainforests. Our study aimed to reveal the biodiversity, host association, and community structure of ectomycorrhizal Basidiomycota and root-associated Ascomycota (including root-endophytic Ascomycota) in a lowland dipterocarp rainforest in Southeast Asia. The host plant chloroplast ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase large subunit (rbcL) region and fungal internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) region were sequenced using tag-encoded, massively parallel 454 pyrosequencing to identify host plant and root-associated fungal taxa in root samples. In total, 1245 ascomycetous and 127 putative ectomycorrhizal basidiomycetous taxa were detected from 442 root samples. The putative ectomycorrhizal Basidiomycota were likely to be associated with closely related dipterocarp taxa to greater or lesser extents, whereas host association patterns of the root-associated Ascomycota were much less distinct. The community structure of the putative ectomycorrhizal Basidiomycota was possibly more influenced by host genetic distances than was that of the root-associated Ascomycota. This study also indicated that in dipterocarp rainforests, root-associated Ascomycota were characterized by high biodiversity and indistinct host association patterns, whereas ectomycorrhizal Basidiomycota showed less biodiversity and a strong host phylogenetic preference for dipterocarp trees. Our findings lead to the working hypothesis that root-associated Ascomycota, which might be mainly represented by root-endophytic fungi, have biodiversity hotspots in the tropics, whereas biodiversity of ectomycorrhizal Basidiomycota increases with host genetic diversity.

Via Francis Martin
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Rescooped by Guogen Yang from Plant immunity and legume symbiosis
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The UPR Branch IRE1- bZIP60 in Plants Plays an Essential Role in Viral Infection and Is Complementary to the Only UPR Pathway in Yeast

The UPR Branch IRE1- bZIP60  in Plants Plays an Essential Role in Viral Infection and Is Complementary to the Only UPR Pathway in Yeast | Plant-Microbe Interaction | Scoop.it
The unfolded protein response (UPR) signaling network encompasses two pathways in plants, one mediated by inositol-requiring protein-1 (IRE1)-bZIP60 mRNA and the other by site-1/site-2 proteases (S1P/S2P)-bZIP17/bZIP28. As the major sensor of UPR in eukaryotes, IRE1, in response to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, catalyzes the unconventional splicing of HAC1 in yeast, bZIP60 in plants and XBP1 in metazoans. Recent studies suggest that IRE1p and HAC1 mRNA, the only UPR pathway found in yeast, evolves as a cognate system responsible for the robust UPR induction. However, the functional connectivity of IRE1 and its splicing target in multicellular eukaryotes as well as the degree of conservation of IRE1 downstream signaling effectors across eukaryotes remains to be established. Here, we report that IRE1 and its substrate bZIP60 function as a strictly cognate enzyme-substrate pair to control viral pathogenesis in plants. Moreover, we show that the S1P/S2P-bZIP17/bZIP28 pathway, the other known branch of UPR in plants, does not play a detectable role in virus infection, demonstrating the distinct function of the IRE1-bZIP60 pathway in plants. Furthermore, we provide evidence that bZIP60 and HAC1, products of the enzyme-substrate duet, rather than IRE1, are functionally replaceable to cope with ER stress in yeast. Taken together, we conclude that the downstream signaling of the IRE1-mediated splicing is evolutionarily conserved in yeast and plants, and that the IRE1-bZIP60 UPR pathway not only confers overlapping functions with the other UPR branch in fundamental biology but also may exert a unique role in certain biological processes such as virus-plant interactions.

Via Christophe Jacquet
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