Botrytis cinerea virulence factors: new insights into a necrotrophic and polyphageous pathogen


  • Editor: Richard Staples

Correspondence: Muriel Viaud, UMR 1290 BIOGER-CPP, INRA, Route de Saint-Cyr, 78086 Versailles, France. Tel.: +33 1 3083 3210; fax: +33 1 3083 3195; e-mail:


Botrytis cinerea is responsible for the gray mold disease on more than 200 host plants. This necrotrophic ascomycete displays the capacity to kill host cells through the production of toxins, reactive oxygen species and the induction of a plant-produced oxidative burst. Thanks to an arsenal of degrading enzymes, B. cinerea is then able to feed on different plant tissues. Recent molecular approaches, for example on characterizing components of signal transduction pathways, show that this fungus shares conserved virulence factors with other phytopathogens, but also highlight some Botrytis-specific features. The discovery of some first strain-specific virulence factors, together with population data, even suggests a possible host adaptation of the strains. The availability of the genome sequence now stimulates the development of high-throughput functional analysis to decipher the mechanisms involved in the large host range of this species.