New Phytologist (2014) 203, 620-631

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Marco Loehrer, Jens Botterweck, Joachim Jahnke, Daniel M. Mahlmann, Jochem Gaetgens, Marco Oldiges, Ralf Horbach, Holger Deising and Ulrich Schaffrath (2014)
In vivo assessment by Mach-Zehnder double-beam interferometry of the invasive force exerted by the Asian soybean rust fungus (Phakopsora pachyrhizi)
New Phytologist 203 (2), 620-631
Abstract: Asian soybean rust (Phakopsora pachyrhizi) causes a devastating disease in soybean (Glycine max). We tested the hypothesis that the fungus generates high turgor pressure in its hyaline appressoria to mechanically pierce epidermal cells.
Turgor pressure was determined by a microscopic technique, called transmitted light double-beam interference Mach-Zehnder microscopy (MZM), which was developed in the 1960s as a forefront of live cell imaging. We revitalized some original microscopes and equipped them for modern image capturing. MZM data were corroborated by cytorrhysis experiments.
Incipient cytorrhysis determined the turgor pressure in appressoria of P. pachyrhizi to be equivalent to 5.13 MPa. MZM data revealed that osmotically active sugar alcohols only accounted for 75% of this value. Despite having a lower turgor pressure, hyaline rust appressoria were able to penetrate non-biodegradable polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) membranes more efficiently than do melanized appressoria of the anthracnose fungus Colletotrichum graminicola or the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae.
Our findings challenge the hypotheses that force-based penetration is a specific hallmark of fungi differentiating melanized appressoria and that this turgor-driven process is solely caused by metabolic degradation products. The appressorial turgor pressure may explain the capability of P. pachyrhizi to forcefully invade a wide range of different plants and may pave the way to novel plant protection approaches.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Link to article at publishers website
Database assignments for author(s): Ulrich Schaffrath

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
general biology - morphology - evolution


Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.


Pyricularia oryzae
Colletotrichum graminicola
Phakopsora pachyrhizi