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Fusarium oxysporum mediated underpinning of cell type-specific modulation in multiple host interaction . (FOUNDATION)

Fungi have a devastating impact on human nutrition and health. Each year, fungal pathogens provoke enormous agricultural losses in crop plants and contaminating food with harmful mycotoxins. The soil-borne fungal pathogen Fusarium oxysporum infects plant root and vascular tissue, causing wilt disease in over a hundred different crops, including both dicots and monocots. A particular aggressive strain of this pathogen, tropical race 4, is threatening banana plantations worldwide. Currently, there is little information on the crucial biotrophic infection stage of vascular pathogens, from penetration of root to colonization of xylem vessels. Fusarium provides an excellent model to investigate the cell-specific sensing and adaptation and suppression of plant immunity related to early infection stages. The host group has recently reported the chemotrophic sensing mechanism used by this pathogen, and identified host plant signals perceived by Fusarium in the soil.
Moreover, their work revealed a combined action of enzymes involved in fungal cell wall remodelling and plant cell wall degradation which contributes in virulence of this pathogen. In this project, we aim to identify the cell-specific virulence genes that F. oxysporum uses to colonize a dicot host (Arabidopsis) versus monocot (Banana) that has a fundamentally distinct vascular tissue architecture. We will use dual RNA-Seq coupled with Laser capture microdissection (LCM) to identify core compatibility components in both the pathogen and the plant, that are essential for establishing wilt disease. This will lead to identification and characterization of potential targets in this interaction that could be used to develop novel resistance strategies in ongoing banana breeding efforts.
This project will thus advance fundamental knowledge of how a fungus senses and colonizes such a broad host range, while creating new opportunities for crop protection by dissecting the interaction at a cell-type specific resolution.

Universidad de Córdoba

- Cell-type specific fungal and host transcriptome of F. oxysporum f. sp. conglutinans and Arabidopsis to identify the crucial compatibility components in Fox interaction.
- Understanding the fungal cell wall remodelling during colonization of Arabidopsis (dicot) versus Banana (monocot).
- Elucidate the mechanism of orientation to xylem vessels by Fusarium in Arabidopsis (dicot) versus Banana (monocot) by establishment of CRISPR-Cas and generation of deletion mutants.

- Publication 1. Cell type specific transcriptome reveal crucial components in Fusarium interaction in diverse hosts (Obj 1).
- Publication 2. Cell wall remodelling as conversed colonization mechanism in Fusarium (Obj 2).
- Publication 3. Genome editing in genus Fusarium by CRISPR-Cas (Obj 3).

The Project enhance the future career prospects of the researcher after the fellowship in these impacts:

- to improve of professional profile by increase of scientific skills;

- to establish a collaboration network beyond the host institution and provide international visibility and strength of network capacity;

- to increase of European R&I visibility;


- to generate an impact on European society including the science base and/or the economy, it based on the work in diferents research centers (Indian Research System, Max Planck Institute in Germany, International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS), The Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, UK, University of Cordoba in Spain). The results of his research work will particularly be helpful for the efforts from the European Research Area to develop a resistant export banana variety due to lack of tradable varieties and chemical control methods. 

Genética Molecular de la Patogénesis Fúngica

Code PAIDI: BIO-138

Antonio C. Di Pietro . Coordinator. 

Universidad de Córdoba

Budget of Andalusian group: € 170,121.60

Keywords: pathogen, Fusarium , Cell-Specificity, defence modulation, compatibility
Duration: 24 months. July, 1th 2018 to June, 30th 2020
Project cost: € 170,121.60