Pathogenic fungi in plants are now one of the most serious causes of crop losses in Europe. Phytopathogenic fungi are able to infect any tissue at any stage of plant growth. Most significantly, these organisms are able to maintain their infective capacity between seasons because sources of inoculum can remain present in soils and plant debris. The value of producers crop losses and the costs of fungicide treatments are extremely relevant economic data. The complex cycle of infection is directed by a set of genes/proteins known as pathogenicity or virulence factors. Proteomics is one of the techniques that is currently attracting much interest in the study of these organisms. At present, there is a significant increase in the number of research projects in which proteomics approaches are being used to understand the complex interactions between plants and their pathogens. This trend confirms the usefulness of these techniques for studying the biology of these pathogens, their pathogenicity or virulence factors, and for exploring new proteins that could be used as therapeutic targets. However, there are still problems to be resolved in these approaches. There is also a continuous process of improvement in many crucial stages of these proteomic studies of fungal plant pathogens – in experimental designs, in protein extraction procedures, in the separation and identification of proteins, in the analysis of results of proteome studies, and more. This review will describe the different approaches being taken in proteomics studies of fungal plant pathogens. It will highlight the solutions being adopted to overcome the complications arising from the nature of the specific biological samples. Currently, there are no fungicides on the market that have been developed from molecular biology studies. Consequently the knowledge gained from past and present proteomic studies is still to be used in the design of fungicides, although the authors are optimistic in this respect.
Keywords: Proteomics, fungi, MS/MS, botrytis, Botrytis cinerea, phytopathogenic fungi, Aspergillus nidulans, A. tereus, Botrytis cinerea, Colletotrichum graminicola, Fusarium graminearum, F. oxysporum, F. verticillioides, Magnaporthe oryzae, M. grisea, Mycosphaerella fijiensis, M. graminicola, Nectria haematococca, Neurospora crassa, Puccinia graminis, P. triticina, Rhizopus oryzae, Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, Stagonospora nodorum, Ustilago maydis, Verticillium dahliae, Colletotrichum acutatum, Uncinola necator, clesitotecio, minimal salts medium, carboxymethylcellulose, Phanerochaete chrysosporium, Uromyces appendiculatus, Pulse Field Gel Electrophoresis, Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphisms, Southern blots
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