Plant Pathology Department


Under Pressure: Investigating the Biology of Plant Infection by Magnaporthe oryza

Nicholas J. Talbot, University of Exeter, UK
Richard A. Wilson, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Document Type Article

Copyright 2009, Macmillan. Used by permission.


The filamentous fungus Magnaporthe oryzae causes rice blast, the most serious disease of cultivated rice. Cellular differentiation of M. oryzae forms an infection structure called the appressorium, which generates enormous cellular turgor that is sufficient to rupture the plant cuticle. Here, we show how functional genomics approaches are providing new insight into the genetic control of plant infection by M. oryzae. We also look ahead to the key questions that need to be addressed to provide a better understanding of the molecular processes that lead to plant disease and the prospects for sustainable control of rice blast.