Editors' ChoiceHost-Pathogen Interactions

Tailor-Made Tumor

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Science Signaling  06 Apr 2010:
Vol. 3, Issue 116, pp. ec104
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.3116ec104

The biotrophic smut pathogen Ustilago maydis specifically infects the important crop plant maize. The pathogen elicits large tumors on all aerial maize organs by redirecting primordia into a tumor pathway, and maize developmental mutants can disrupt tumor progression. Skibbe et al. examined gene expression in parallel in both the host plant and the smut pathogen and found that organ-specific gene expression patterns were required in both for tumor formation. Thus, fungal pathogens may exert distinct effects on different organs and tissues in plants, perhaps explaining the diverse pathologies that can be produced in diseased plants.

D. S. Skibbe, G. Doehlemann, J. Fernandes, V. Walbot, Maize tumors caused by Ustilago maydis require organ-specific genes in host and pathogen. Science 328, 89–92 (2010). [Abstract] [Full Text]

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