Plant Pathology Department


Date of this Version



Mycologia, 104(5), 2012, pp. 1020–1035. DOI: 10.3852/11-226.


Copyright 2012 by The Mycological Society of America. Used by permission.


Rhizoctonia solani is a ubiquitous basidiomycetous soilborne fungal pathogen causing damping- off of seedlings, aerial blights and postharvest diseases. To gain insight into the molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis a global approach based on analysis of expressed sequence tags (ESTs) was undertaken. To get broad gene-expression coverage, two normalized EST libraries were developed from mycelia grown under high nitrogen-induced virulent and low nitrogen/methylglucose-induced hypovirulent conditions. A pilot-scale assessment of gene diversity was made from the sequence analyses of the two libraries. A total of 2280 cDNA clones was sequenced that corresponded to 220 unique sequence sets or clusters (contigs) and 805 singlets, making up a total of 1025 unique genes identified from the two virulence-differentiated cDNA libraries. From the total sequences, 295 genes (38.7%) exhibited strong similarities with genes in public databases and were categorized into 11 functional groups. Approximately 61.3% of the R. solani ESTs have no apparent homologs in publicly available fungal genome databases and are considered unique genes. We have identified several cDNAs with potential roles in fungal pathogenicity, virulence, signal transduction, vegetative incompatibility and mating, drug resistance, lignin degradation, bioremediation and morphological differentiation. A codon-usage table has been formulated based on 14 694 R. solani EST codons. Further analysis of ESTs might provide insights into virulence mechanisms of R. solani AG 4 as well as roles of these genes in development, saprophytic colonization and ecological adaptation of this important fungal plant pathogen.