The PWL host specificity gene family in the blast fungus Magnaporthe grisea

Mol Plant Microbe Interact. Nov-Dec 1995;8(6):939-48. doi: 10.1094/mpmi-8-0939.


The PWL2 gene, isolated from a Magnaporthe grisea rice pathogen, prevents this fungus from infecting a second host grass, weeping lovegrass. We have investigated the distribution of sequences homologous to PWL2 in M. grisea strains isolated from diverse grass species. Multiple PWL2 homologs with varying degrees of sequence homology were identified. The presence of PWL2 homologs does not correlate with an avirulent phenotype on weeping lovegrass in many cases: some strains were fully pathogenic on weeping lovegrass although they carry multiple PWL2 homologs. Three weakly hybridizing PWL2 homologs were cloned and characterized. One of these, the PWL1 gene previously identified by genetic analysis, functioned to prevent infection of weeping lovegrass. Cloned PWL3 and PWL4 genes were nonfunctional, although PWL4 became functional if its expression was driven by either the PWL1 or the PWL2 promoter. The PWL1, PWL2, and PWL3/PWL4 genes map to different genomic locations. The amino acid sequences of the predicted PWL1, PWL3, and PWL4 proteins have 75, 51, and 57% identity, respectively, to the PWL2 protein. Our studies indicate that PWL genes are members of a dynamic, rapidly evolving gene family.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Ascomycota / genetics*
  • Ascomycota / pathogenicity
  • Base Sequence
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA, Recombinant
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics*
  • Genes, Fungal*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multigene Family
  • Oryza / microbiology
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology*
  • Poaceae / microbiology*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid


  • DNA, Recombinant
  • Fungal Proteins
  • PWL2 protein, Magnaporthe grisea

Associated data

  • GENBANK/U36923
  • GENBANK/U36995
  • GENBANK/U36996