The Biotrophic Phase of Ustilago maydis: Novel Determinants for Compatibility

  • Thomas Brefort
  • Kerstin Schipper
  • Gunther Döhlemann
  • Regine Kahmann
Part of the Stadler Genetics Symposia Series book series (SGSS)


The basidiomycete fungus Ustilago maydis∈dexUstilago maydis establishes a biotrophic relationship with its host plant maize which is maintained throughout disease development. Recent insights from the genome sequence have revealed that this interaction is largely governed by a set of novel secreted proteins that are only found in U. maydis. Many of the respective genes are clustered and appear co-regulated during late stages of pathogenesis. Mutants in most of these gene clusters arrest development at distinct stages, suggesting that the secreted proteins fulfill discrete functions in the interaction with the host. One of the cluster mutants, however, displays increased virulence suggesting that it is not in the interest of U. maydis to use its full potential as a pathogen. In this chapter we will review these findings and place them in perspective for a comprehensive understanding of biotrophy.


Appressorium Formation Smut Fungus Mating Type Locus Pathogenic Development Cell Wall Fragment 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Brefort
    • 1
  • Kerstin Schipper
  • Gunther Döhlemann
  • Regine Kahmann
  1. 1.Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology, Department Organismic Interactions, Karl-von-Frisch-StrasseFrisch-StrasseGermany

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