Article: New Phytologist

Advances in understanding obligate biotrophy in rust fungi C Lorrain, KC Gonçalves dos Santos, H Germain, A Hecker, S Duplessis New Phytologist


Rust fungi (Pucciniales) are the largest group of plant pathogens and represent one of the most devastating threats to agricultural crops worldwide. Despite the economic importance of these highly specialized pathogens, many aspects of their biology remain obscure largely because rust fungi are obligate biotrophs. The rise of genomics and advances in high‐throughput sequencing technology have presented new options for identifying candidate effector genes involved in pathogenicity mechanisms of rust fungi. Transcriptome analysis and integrated bioinformatics tools have led to the identification of key genetic determinants of host susceptibility to infection by rusts. Thousands of genes encoding secreted proteins highly expressed during host infection have been reported for different rust species, which represents significant potential towards understanding rust effector function. Recent high‐throughput in planta expression screen approaches (effectoromics) have pushed the field ahead even further towards predicting high‐priority effectors and identifying avirulence genes. These new insights into rust effector biology promise to inform future research and spur the development of effective and sustainable strategies for managing rust diseases.