University of Cambridge > > Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars > Investigating the cell biology of invasive growth by the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae

Investigating the cell biology of invasive growth by the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae

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Magnaporthe oryzae is the causal agent of rice blast, one of the most serious diseases affecting rice production across the world. During plant infection, M. oryzae forms a specialised infection structure called an appressorium, which generates enormous turgor, that is applied as mechanical force to breach the rice cuticle. We are studying how appressoria work and how rice blast infections then proceed. Re-polarisation of the appressorium requires a hetero-oligomeric septin complex to organise a toroidal F-actin network at the base of the infection cell. Formation of this septin complex requires a turgor-dependent sensor kinase, Sln1, that is required for development of a rigid penetration hypha to rupture the leaf surface and allow entry into rice tissue. Once the fungus invades plant cells it secretes a large set of effector proteins to suppress host immunity. The fungus also manipulates pit field sites, containing plasmodesmata, to facilitate its spread from one rice cell to the next within plant tissue. I will discuss our recent progress into understanding the mechanisms of invasive growth by this devastating pathogen.

This talk is part of the Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars series.

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