Conserved Requirement for a Plant Host Cell Protein in Powdery Mildew Pathogenesis

Nat Genet. 2006 Jun;38(6):716-20. doi: 10.1038/ng1806. Epub 2006 May 28.


In the fungal phylum Ascomycota, the ability to cause disease in plants and animals has been gained and lost repeatedly during phylogenesis. In monocotyledonous barley, loss-of-function mlo alleles result in effective immunity against the Ascomycete Blumeria graminis f. sp. hordei, the causal agent of powdery mildew disease. However, mlo-based disease resistance has been considered a barley-specific phenomenon to date. Here, we demonstrate a conserved requirement for MLO proteins in powdery mildew pathogenesis in the dicotyledonous plant species Arabidopsis thaliana. Epistasis analysis showed that mlo resistance in A. thaliana does not involve the signaling molecules ethylene, jasmonic acid or salicylic acid, but requires a syntaxin, glycosyl hydrolase and ABC transporter. These findings imply that a common host cell entry mechanism of powdery mildew fungi evolved once and at least 200 million years ago, suggesting that within the Erysiphales (powdery mildews) the ability to cause disease has been a stable trait throughout phylogenesis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / physiology
  • Ascomycota / classification
  • Ascomycota / pathogenicity*
  • Ascomycota / physiology
  • Phylogeny
  • Plant Proteins / physiology*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • RNA Interference
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Plant Proteins