Diane G. O. Saunders

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Every plant is closely associated with a variety of living organisms. Therefore, deciphering how plants interact with mutualistic and parasitic organisms is essential for a comprehensive understanding of the biology of plants. The field of plant-biotic interactions has recently coalesced around an integrated model. Major classes of molecular players both(More)
Nuclei of arbuscular endomycorrhizal fungi have been described as highly diverse due to their asexual nature and absence of a single cell stage with only one nucleus. This has raised fundamental questions concerning speciation, selection and transmission of the genetic make-up to next generations. Although this concept has become textbook knowledge, it is(More)
To gain entry to plants, many pathogenic fungi develop specialized infection structures called appressoria. Here, we demonstrate that appressorium morphogenesis in the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae is tightly regulated by the cell cycle. Shortly after a fungus spore lands on the rice (Oryza sativa) leaf surface, a single round of mitosis always(More)
Rust fungi are obligate biotrophic pathogens that cause considerable damage on crop plants. Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici, the causal agent of wheat stem rust, and Melampsora larici-populina, the poplar leaf rust pathogen, have strong deleterious impacts on wheat and poplar wood production, respectively. Filamentous pathogens such as rust fungi secrete(More)
Rust fungi cause serious yield reductions on crops, including wheat, barley, soybean, coffee, and represent real threats to global food security. Of these fungi, the flax rust pathogen Melampsora lini has been developed most extensively over the past 80 years as a model to understand the molecular mechanisms that underpin pathogenesis. During infection, M.(More)
Plant pathogens secrete effector proteins to modulate plant immunity and promote host colonization. Plant nucleotide binding leucine-rich repeat (NB-LRR) immunoreceptors recognize specific pathogen effectors directly or indirectly. Little is known about how NB-LRR proteins recognize effectors of filamentous plant pathogens, such as Phytophthora infestans.(More)
To infect plants, many pathogenic fungi develop specialized infection structures called appressoria. Here, we report that appressorium development in the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae involves an unusual cell division, in which nuclear division is spatially uncoupled from the site of cytokinesis and septum formation. The position of the appressorium(More)
Genome architecture often reflects an organism's lifestyle and can therefore provide insights into gene function, regulation, and adaptation. In several lineages of plant pathogenic fungi and oomycetes, characteristic repeat-rich and gene-sparse regions harbor pathogenicity-related genes such as effectors. In these pathogens, analysis of genome architecture(More)
Rust fungi are devastating crop pathogens that deliver effector proteins into infected tissues to modulate plant functions and promote parasitic growth. The genome of the poplar leaf rust fungus Melampsora larici-populina revealed a large catalog of secreted proteins, some of which have been considered candidate effectors. Unraveling how these proteins(More)
Rust fungal pathogens of wheat (Triticum spp.) affect crop yields worldwide. The molecular mechanisms underlying the virulence of these pathogens remain elusive, due to the limited availability of suitable molecular genetic research tools. Notably, the inability to perform high-throughput analyses of candidate virulence proteins (also known as effectors)(More)