Globally, a large fraction of crops are subjected to fungal diseases leading to great economic losses. Antifungal chemicals currently used are harmful to the environment and therefore due to be replaced in the future. Finding alternatives will depend on molecular understanding of the biology of pathogen colonization of plants with the aim of developing radically new environmentally safe methods of pathogen control. ACE should significantly contribute to research into mechanisms of plant -pathogen interactions and to developing new strategies for pathogen control. The consortium of the ACE research groups combines the expertise in pathways necessary for the transfer of external signals in yeasts, plants, and fungal plant pathogens. Since there is evidence that signal pathways crucial in plant-pathogen interactions are related to yeast pathways, expertise of participant groups on yeast nutritional and stress signal transduction pathways will guide the search for pathways in pathogens and host plants. ACE research groups already successfully studying plant-fungal pathogen interactions will help our network to gain a molecular understanding of signalling pathways involved. Using the most modern genetic and molecular biological technology currently available, e.g. expression profiles of various fungal plant pathogens will provide useful information on fungal adaptation strategies in their host plants. Some of the genes induced by plant-pathogen interactions could encode pathogenicity factors. By studying genome expression and proteomes of the interacting organisms, signal perception, transduction and target factors will be defined that can be genetically modified and knocked out. The mutant phenotypes thus created will allow to draw conclusions on the roles of proteins as pathogenicity factors and will define future targets for the protection of crop plants in agriculture.
Funding SchemeNET - Research network contracts
91191 Gif Sur Yvette
M20 9BX Manchester
6703 BD Wageningen