Physiology and molecular aspects of Verticillium wilt diseases caused by V. dahliae and V. albo-atrum

E.F. Fradin, B.P.H.J. Thomma

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455 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Verticillium spp. are soil-borne plant pathogens responsible for Verticillium wilt diseases in temperate and subtropical regions; collectively they affect over 200 hosts, including many economically important crops. There are currently no fungicides available to cure plants once they are infected. Taxonomy: Kingdom: Fungi, phylum: Ascomycota, subphylum, Pezizomycotina, class: Sordariomycetes, order: Phyllachorales, genus: Verticillium. Host range and disease symptoms: Over 200 mainly dicotyledonous species including herbaceous annuals, perennials and woody species are host to Verticillium diseases. As Verticillium symptoms can vary between hosts, there are no unique symptoms that belong to all plants infected by this fungus. Disease symptoms may comprise wilting, chlorosis, stunting, necrosis and vein clearing. Brown vascular discoloration may be observed in stem tissue cross-sections. Pathogenicity: Verticillium spp. have been reported to produce cell-wall-degrading enzymes and phytotoxins that all have been implicated in symptom development. Nevertheless, evidence for a crucial role of toxins in pathogenicity is inconsistent and therefore not generally accepted. Microsclerotia and melanized mycelium play an important role in the disease cycle as they are a major inoculum source and are the primary long-term survival structures. Resistance: Different defence responses in the prevascular and the vascular stage of Verticillium wilt diseases determine resistance. Although resistance physiology is well established, the molecular processes underlying this physiology remain largely unknown. Resistance against Verticillium largely depends on the isolation of the fungus in contained parts of the xylem tissues followed by subsequent elimination of the fungus. Although genetic resistance has been described in several plant species, only one resistance locus against Verticillium has been cloned to date.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-86
JournalMolecular Plant Pathology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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