Indifferent, Affectionate, or Deceitful – Lifestyles of Fungi

Graph Fungi occupy a myriad of niches. They can be free-living (indifferent) as saprophytes recycling nutrients in the natural environment and/or have a range of relationships (affectionate and deceitful) with insect, animal, or plant hosts. Interactions with plants can be a continuum and range from obligate biotrophy where fungi cannot be cultured outside living hosts to necrotrophy where fungi kill and live on released nutrients. Biotrophic fungi need to avoid or suppress defence responses. They include symbionts, which confer a benefit to the host, and pathogens, which can cause devastating diseases such as stem rust, which threatens production of wheat worldwide. Mycorrhizae colonise roots of >80% of land plants and are symbiotic, increasing nitrogen and phosphorus uptake from the soil, while feeding on sugars from the host photosynthate. Biotrophic fungi need to avoid or suppress defence responses. They include symbionts, which confer a benefit to the host, and pathogens, which can cause devastating diseases such as stem rust, which threatens production of wheat worldwide.

This paper examines a range of fungi and consider their complement of secreted proteins (secretome) and roles of effectors in fungal lifestyles.

Indifferent, Affectionate, or Deceitful: Lifestyles and Secretomes of Fungi. (2012) PLoS Pathog 8(3): e1002515. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1002515

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