A Mechanism for Surface Attachment in Spores of a Plant Pathogenic Fungus

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Science  15 Jan 1988:
Vol. 239, Issue 4837, pp. 288-290
DOI: 10.1126/science.239.4837.288


Rice blast disease is caused by a fungus that attacks all above-ground parts of the rice plant. In a study of the means by which the fungus attaches to the hydrophobic rice leaf surface, it was found that spores(conidia) of the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe grisea have a mechanism for immediate and persistent attachment to various surfaces, including Teflon. This attachment occurs at the spore apex and is blocked by the addition of the lectin concanavalin A. Microscopy of hydrated conidia shows that a spore tip mucilage that binds concanavalin A is expelled specifically from the conidial apex before germ tube emergence. Ultrastructural analysis of dry conidia shows a large periplasmic deposit, presumably spore tip mucilage, at the apex. The results indicate a novel mechanism for the attachment of phytopathogenic fungal spores to a plant surface.

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