Skip to main content

Molecular determinants of host adaptation in fungal-plant pathogens: origins and evolution of virulence effectors by genomic, phylogenetic and association mapping studies


The ability of pathogens to escape plant immune system recognition and host defenses is a significant driver of disease emergence. Small proteins secreted by fungal pathogens, named effectors, play a key role in the ability of pathogens to infect novel hosts. Fungal pathogens harbor large and highly diverse repertoires of effectors. This tremendous effector repertoire variability within and between species has hindered the characterization of effectors for their role in adaptation to novel hosts, which is limited to a tiny fraction of effectors. EvolMAX aims to lift this methodological barrier by focusing on one of the first large family of effectors discovered in fungi in order to identify the molecular processes underlying changes in virulence and adaptation to novel hosts. Building on the recent discovery of the MAX (Magnaporthe Avrs and ToxB) family of effectors in the multihost pathogen Magnaporthe oryzae, this project will jointly characterize and infer the evolutionary history of reasonably-sized sets of effectors. Using comparative genomics, population genomics, large-scale pathogenicity tests and genome-wide association mapping in host-specific M. oryzae lineages, EvolMAX will identify candidate loci involved in adaptation to novel hosts and raise understanding of the origins, diversification history of fungal effectors. The molecular processes underlying pathogen evolution and host adaptation are essential to design efficient and sustainable disease control strategies.

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/microbiology/mycology
  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/microbiology/mycology/ethnomycology
  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/biochemistry/biomolecules/proteins
  • /medical and health sciences/basic medicine/immunology
  • /humanities/history and archaeology/history

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

MSCA-IF-EF-ST - Standard EF


Rue De L'universite 147
75338 Paris Cedex 07
Activity type
Research Organisations
EU contribution
€ 196 707,84