Determinants of host specificity in a plant pathogenic fungus are identified

June 9, 2021

Development of a new prevention method against soil-borne diseases is expected

An international joint research group including RIKEN CSRS, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, and University of Amsterdam identified factors contributing to determining its host in a soil-borne fungus, Fusarium oxysporum.

Pathogenic microorganisms would not cause diseases in all plants, but have different host plants to infect by their species and isolates. For example, Fusarium oxysporum, a fungus causing serious damages to crop yields all over the world, causes wilting in more than 100 plant species, but infects different host plants depending on the isolate.

In this study, the international joint group identified two genes (SIX8 and PSE1) contributing to determination of a host in F. oxysporum f. sp. conglutinans (Focn) which infects a model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana,through comparative genome analysis of F. oxysporum. The finding suggests that these genes adjacently reside in a virulence-associated CD chromosome, and work as a pair to suppress Arabidopsis-specific phytoalexin-based immunity.

The finding of this study is considered to contribute to improved prevention of soil-borne diseases for stable crop production.

Original article
Communications Biology doi:10.1038/s42003-021-02245-4
Y. Ayukawa, S. Asai, P. Gan, A. Tsushima, Y. Ichihashi, A. Shibata, K. Komatsu, P. M. Houterman, M. Rep, K. Shirasu, T. Arie,
"A pair of effectors encoded on a conditionally dispensable chromosome of Fusarium oxysporum suppress host-specific immunity".
Yu Ayukawa; Visiting Researcher
Shuta Asai; Senior Scientist
Ken Shirasu; Group Director
Plant Immunity Research Group