Standard Article

Magnaporthe and Its Relatives

  1. Maria I Besi,
  2. Sara L Tucker,
  3. Ane Sesma

Published Online: 15 MAR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0021311



How to Cite

Besi, M. I., Tucker, S. L. and Sesma, A. 2009. Magnaporthe and Its Relatives. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 MAR 2009


The ascomycetous family Magnaporthaceae includes plant pathogenic fungi that cause diseases on members of the Poaceae worldwide, affecting the turfgrass industry and staple food crops such as rice, wheat, millet and maize. The economically significant turfgrass root pathogen Magnaporthe poae belongs to this family. Two of the most damaging fungal pathogens of wheat and rice also belong to this family: the intractable root-infecting fungus and causal agent of take-all disease, Gaeumannomyces graminis and the blast fungus Magnaporthe grisea. M. grisea has emerged as a paradigm for the understanding of fungal aerial attack. Interestingly, M. grisea can also infect roots and is far more amenable to transformation than G. graminis and M. poae. Consequently, M. grisea constitutes an excellent fungal model system for the dissection of genetic determinants required for infection on underground tissues, and for comparative analysis of the distinct tissue-specific pathogenic mechanisms observed during leaf and root colonization.

Key concepts

  • Appressorium: Infection structure formed by fungal hypha that mediates attachment and penetration in aerial plant tissues. This term is also used for penetration structures produced by symbiotic fungi on roots.

  • Clade: Phylogenetic group which comprises a single common ancestor and all the descendants of that ancestor.

  • EST (expressed sequenced tags): Short cDNA (complementary deoxyribonucleic acid) sequences, generally obtained from cDNA libraries generated under different nutrient conditions and/or tissues.

  • Hyphopodium: Specialized structure produced at the tip of the hyphae that mediate fungal penetration into root tissue. G. graminis can produce simple or lobed hyphopodia.

  • QTL (quantitative trait locus): Region of DNA associated with a certain quantitative phenotypic trait. The molecular identification of QTLs usually enables the identification and sequencing of genes that are responsible for such a phenotypic trait.


  • root infection;
  • take-all;
  • rice blast;
  • hyphopodium;
  • fungal pathogenesis