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Identification of pathogenicity and virulence genes of the necrotrophic fungus Ascochyta spp. by genome-wide transcriptome analyses coupled to high-throughput next-generation sequencing


This project aims at identifying genes involved in pathogenicity and virulence of Ascochyta spp., the causal agents of ascochyta blight in legumes. Legumes are economically and agronomically important crops for sustainable agriculture in the European community, that have a very high potential for human and animal nutrition and the potential to fix atmospheric nitrogen. However, diseases, and especially ascochyta blight, strongly limit stable yield and quality. All major legume crops suffer from an ascochyta blight as a major constraint. The genomes of four different pathotypes of Ascochyta rabiei differing in virulence and of an isolate each of A. pinodes and A. lentis have been sequenced. This information coupled with state-of-the-art transcriptomic technologies will be applied to unravel the pathogenicity and virulence of these fungi at the molecular level. The genomes of the four pathotypes of A. rabiei will be compared to identify the genes underlying virulence. In addition, using deepSuperSAGE technology, the transcripts expressed by the pathogen during different steps of the infection process in the ascochyta-legume interaction will be compared to each other and to the transcriptome of the fungus growing in the absence of the host. This approach will identify genes specifically involved in pathogenicity. Another outcome of the project will be the construction of a global transcript map of the different genomes depicting the location of transcribed genes. During the project the applicant will learn up-to-date next-generation sequencing and gene expression techniques, and different bioinformatics software. This should substantially extend the applicant’s range of expertise beyond her existing experience in plant pathology, traditional breeding and molecular marker technologies. This will add a competitive advantage to her scientific career, which so far focused on disease resistance breeding in pea.

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Theodor w adorno platz 1
60323 Frankfurt am main

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Hessen Darmstadt Frankfurt am Main, Kreisfreie Stadt
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Kristina Wege (Ms.)
EU contribution
No data