Title: "Investigating the cell biology of plant infection by the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae"
If you are unable to attend in person, please email IIGBadmin@ucr.edu for the zoom link.
Host: Hailing Jin
Abstract: Magnaporthe oryzae is the causal agent of rice blast, one of the most serious diseases affecting rice cultivation around the world. During plant infection, M. oryzae forms a specialised infection structure called an appressorium. The appressorium generates enormous turgor, applied as mechanical force to breach the rice cuticle. We are studying the mechanism by which appressoria function. Re-polarisation of the appressorium requires a turgor-dependent sensor kinase and leads septin-dependent re-polarisation and plant infection. Invasive growth then requires differential expression and secretion of a large repertoire of effector proteins delivered into plant cells using a specific secretory pathway. The fungus develops a transpressorium, a specific invasion structure used to more from cell-to-cell using pit field sites, containing plasmodesmata, to facilitate its spread in plant tissue. This is controlled by a specific MAP kinase signalling pathway and requires septin-dependent hyphal constriction. I will discuss recent progress into understanding the mechanisms of rice infection by this devastating pathogen.