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Title: The role of cellular morphogenesis in the pathogenicity of the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae
Author: Dagdas, Yasin Fatih
ISNI:       0000 0004 2744 1244
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2013
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Appressorium-mediated plant infection is a common strategy used by many plant pathogenic fungi. Understanding the underlying genetic network that controls cellular differentiation of appressorium is therefore pivotal to design durable resistance strategies for these devastating pathogens. This thesis describes four published studies, which investigate the role of septin GTPases in infection and the role of secretion during plant tissue invasion by the rice blast pathogen Magnaporthe oryzae. Appressorium development involves a series of morphogenetic changes that are tightly regulated by cell cycle checkpoints. Entry into mitosis allows differentiation of an appressorium, while penetration peg emergence appears to require progression through subsequent cell cycle checkpoints and cytokinesis. The studies presented here show that symmetry-breaking events that occur during appressorium differentiation are mediated by scaffold proteins, named septins. Septin GTPases recruit actomyosin ring components during septation and define the site of cytokinesis. They also recruit a toroidal cortical F-actin network to the appressorium pore that provides cortical rigidity to facilitate plant infection. Septins act as diffusion barriers for proteins that mediate membrane curvature necessary for penetration peg formation. Repolarization of the F-actin cytoskeleton at the appressorium pore is essential for plant penetration and is controlled by cell polarity regulators, such as Cdc42 and Chm1. Septin-mediated plant infection is regulated by NADPH oxidase (Nox) dependent generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). The Nox2/NoxR complex is essential for septin organization at the appressorium pore. Septins are therefore key determinants of appressorium repolarization. I also report an investigation of fungal secretory processes during tissue invasion and present evidence that distinct pathways are involved in effector secretion by Magnaporthe oryzae. A BrefeldinA-sensitive pathway is necessary for secretion of apoplastic effectors, such as Bas4 and Slp1, while a BrefeldinA-insensitive pathway is necessary for secretion of effectors destined for delivery to rice cells.
Supervisor: Talbot, Nicholas J. Sponsor: Halpin Scholarship for Rice Blast Research
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Plant-Microbe interactions ; Effector secretion ; Magnaporthe oryzae ; rice blast fungus ; Septins