Fungal Frenemies in the Plant World

The fourth major symposium of Plant Biology 2017, organized by Barbara Valent from Kansas State University, entitled “Plants and Fungi: Friends or Foes”, will highlight current research on the interactions between fungi and living plant cells and their applications for improving sustainability in agricultural systems.

Rice blast and wheat blast are two of the most devastating crop diseases worldwide and pose a considerable threat to the sustainable production of these grains. Nicholas J. Talbot will highlight his findings around the pressure-dependent mechanism used by the blast fungus appressoria to physically break the rice cuticle. Barbara Valent will address effector biology and biotrophic strategies used by the rice blast fungus to colonize rice cells once they’ve gained entry.

Peter Dodds uses the interaction between flax and the flax rust fungus as a model for understanding the basis of rust disease as well as host resistance mechanisms and the functions of rust effectors to promote infection. In his talk, Peter will discuss immune receptors in wheat for protection from rust diseases.

Uta Paszkowski studies the molecular mechanisms underlying the formation and functioning of arbuscular mycorrhizal symbioses and symbiotic acquisition of phosphate in cereal crops. Uta will discuss her findings on dynamic host cell penetration mechanisms.
“Plants and Fungi: Friends or Foes” will be held  8:30 AM – 11:00 AM Tuesday, June 27, 2017 at Plant Biology 2017 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Registration is open now. For more information and a full list of the multidisciplinary sessions on offer, visit Plant Biology 2017.

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