Serpentine plant MLO proteins as entry portals for powdery mildew fungi

Biochem Soc Trans. 2005 Apr;33(Pt 2):389-92. doi: 10.1042/BST0330389.


In the dicotyledonous plant species Arabidopsis and the monocot barley, presence of specific isoforms of the family of heptahelical plasma membrane-localized MLO proteins is required for successful host-cell invasion by ascomycete powdery mildew fungi. Absence of these MLO proteins, either caused by natural polymorphisms or induced lesions in the respective Mlo genes, results in failure of fungal sporelings to penetrate the plant cell wall. As a consequence, recessively inherited cell-autonomous mlo resistance is effective against all known isolates of powdery mildew fungi colonizing either barley or Arabidopsis. Barley MLO interacts constitutively with the cytoplasmic calcium sensor calmodulin, but the strength of this interaction increases transiently during fungal pathogenesis. In addition, MLO as well as ROR2, a plasma membrane-resident syntaxin also implicated in mlo penetration resistance, focally accumulate at sites of attempted fungal attack, thereby defining a novel pathogen-triggered micro-domain. In conclusion, powdery mildew fungi appear to specifically corrupt MLO to modulate vesicle-associated processes at the plant cell periphery for successful pathogenesis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Fungi / pathogenicity
  • Fungi / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology*
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*


  • Plant Proteins