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Seminars and Colloquia


Stealth: The entry of fungal killers in plant vascular systems 
Thu, Feb 20, 2020,   11:30 AM to 01:00 PM at Seminar Room no. 34, Second Floor

Dr. Amey Redkar
Department of Genetics, Campus Rabanales, University of Cardoba, Spain


Fungi have a devastating impact on human health and nutrition. Fungal pathogens provoke enormous agricultural losses and contaminate food with mycotoxins. The fungal genus Fusarium contains many soil-borne pathogens, which infect plant roots, progress to the vascular system causing wilting diseases in different crops. A particularly aggressive species is F. oxysporum f.sp. cubense, colloquially called Tropical Race 4 (TR4) that threatens bananas world-wide. During early stages after penetration of roots, the pathogen grows asymptomatically and subsequently colonizes the vascular tissue, causing chlorosis and wilting. Fusarium has evolved diverse infection strategies, but its biotrophic infection stage still remains puzzling. There is little information known on root cortex colonization to entering the vasculature. The fungus grows mostly intercellularly, but where it obtains nutrients and how it evades host recognition is unknown. Moreover, despite substantial research on Fusarium strains infecting dicots, how the fungus deals with stem/pseudostem in monocots is still elusive. My work aims to understand cell-specific sensing by F. oxysporum during apoplastic intercellular growth and identify crucial pathogen-host components during infection. We use a proteomic and transcriptomic approach, where we analyze apoplastic fluid from infected tomato roots by Mass Spectrometry to identify key fungal and plant proteins that guide pathogenesis. The results are compared with transcriptomic RNASeq datasets, during early colonization. My work provides the first glimpses into the biotrophic stage of F. oxysporum and identifies key virulence factors that likely mediate compatibility on diverse hosts and will serve as probes to understand the plant processes that facilitate wilting. Current experiments aim to understand how Fusarium senses the vasculature in a complex root tissue. I will present the recent progress of our work on the biotrophic compatibility dialogue in the life cycle of Fusarium that is crucial for establishing fusariosis in diverse hosts.