Genes determining pathogenicity to pea are clustered on a supernumerary chromosome in the fungal plant pathogen Nectria haematococca

Plant J. 2001 Feb;25(3):305-14. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.2001.00969.x.


Three genes that contribute to the ability of the fungus Nectria haematococca to cause disease on pea plants have been identified. These pea pathogenicity (PEP) genes are within 25 kb of each other and are located on a supernumerary chromosome. Altogether, the PEP gene cluster contains six transcriptional units that are expressed during infection of pea tissue. The biochemical function of only one of the genes is known with certainty. This gene, PDA1, encodes a specific cytochrome P450 that confers resistance to pisatin, an antibiotic produced by pea plants. The three new PEP genes, in addition to PDA1, can independently increase the ability of the fungus to cause lesions on pea when added to an isolate lacking the supernumerary chromosome. Based on predicted amino acid sequences, functions for two of these three genes are hypothesized. The deduced amino acid sequence of another transcribed portion of the PEP cluster, as well as four other open reading frames in the cluster, have a high degree of similarity to known fungal transposases. Several of the features of the PEP cluster -- a cluster of pathogenicity genes, the presence of transposable elements, and differences in codon usage and GC content from other portions of the genome -- are shared by pathogenicity islands in pathogenic bacteria of plants and animals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Ascomycota / genetics
  • Ascomycota / pathogenicity*
  • Bacterial Proteins*
  • Carrier Proteins / chemistry
  • Chromosomes, Fungal*
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Fungal Proteins / chemistry
  • Membrane Transport Proteins*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multigene Family*
  • Peas / microbiology*
  • Physical Chromosome Mapping
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins*
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Vesicular Transport Proteins


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Bmr3 protein, Bacillus subtilis
  • Carrier Proteins
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Fungal Proteins
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • PEP5 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Vesicular Transport Proteins