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This article is part of the supplement: The PAMGO Consortium: Unifying Themes In Microbe–Host Associations Identified Through The Gene Ontology

Open Access Review

Common processes in pathogenesis by fungal and oomycete plant pathogens, described with Gene Ontology terms

Shaowu Meng13, Trudy Torto-Alalibo2, Marcus C Chibucos24, Brett M Tyler2 and Ralph A Dean1*

Author Affiliations

1 Fungal Genomics Laboratory, Center for Integrated Fungal Research, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA

2 Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, Virginia Polytechnic and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA

3 Current address: Hayes Laboratory, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, School of Medicine, CB# 7295, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7295, USA

4 Current address: Institute for Genome Sciences, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA

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BMC Microbiology 2009, 9(Suppl 1):S7  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-9-S1-S7

Published: 19 February 2009

Abstract

Plant diseases caused by fungi and oomycetes result in significant economic losses every year. Although phylogenetically distant, the infection processes by these organisms share many common features. These include dispersal of an infectious particle, host adhesion, recognition, penetration, invasive growth, and lesion development. Previously, many of these common processes did not have corresponding Gene Ontology (GO) terms. For example, no GO terms existed to describe processes related to the appressorium, an important structure for infection by many fungi and oomycetes. In this mini-review, we identify common features of the pathogenic processes of fungi and oomycetes and create a pathogenesis model using 256 newly developed and 38 extant GO terms, with an emphasis on the appressorium and signal transduction. This set of standardized GO terms provides a solid base to further compare and contrast the molecular underpinnings of fungal and oomycete pathogenesis.