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The Molecular Biology of the Interactions Between Trichoderma spp., Phytopathogenic Fungi, and Plants

February 2006 , Volume 96 , Number  2
Pages  181 - 185

S. L. Woo , F. Scala , M. Ruocco , and M. Lorito

Department of Arboricoltura, Botanica e Patologia Vegetale, Plant Pathology Section, University of Naples and CNR IPP-Institute for Plant Protection, Via Università 100, 80055 Portici (Napoli), Italy

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Accepted for publication 19 June 2005.

Trichoderma-based biofungicides are a reality in agriculture, with more than 50 formulations today available as registered products worldwide. Several strategies have been applied to identify the main genes and compounds involved in this complex, three-way cross-talk between the fungal antagonist, the plant, and microbial pathogens. Proteome and genome analysis have greatly enhanced our ability to conduct holistic and genome-based functional studies. We have identified and determined the role of a variety of novel genes and gene-products, including ABC transporters, enzymes and other proteins that produce or act as novel elicitors of induced resistance, proteins responsible for a gene-for-gene avirulent interaction between Trichoderma spp. and plants, mycoparasitism-related inducers, plant proteins specifically induced by Trichoderma, etc. We have transgenically demonstrated the ability of Trichoderma spp. to transfer heterologous proteins into plant during root colonization, and have used green fluorescent protein and other markers to study the interaction in vivo and in situ between Trichoderma spp. and the fungal pathogen or the plant.

Additional keywords: biopesticides, proteomics, symbiosis.

© 2006 The American Phytopathological Society