Species of Colletotrichum use diverse strategies for invading host tissue, ranging from intracellular hemibiotrophy to subcuticular intramural necrotrophy. In addition, these pathogens develop a series of specialized infection structures, including germ tubes, appressoria, intracellular hyphae, and secondary necrotrophic hyphae. Colletotrichum species provide excellent models for studying the molecular basis of infection structure differentiation and fungal-plant interactions. In this review we cover the various stages of the infection processes of Colletotrichum species, including spore adhesion and germination, germ tube and appressorium differentiation and functions, and biotrophic and necrotrophic development. The contribution of molecular, biochemical, and immunological approaches to the identification of genes and proteins relevant to each stage of fungal development will be considered. As well as reviewing results from several groups, we also describe our own work on the hemibiotrophic pathogen, C. lindemuthianum.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.