Plant defense response against Fusarium oxysporum and strategies to develop tolerant genotypes in banana

V Swarupa, K V Ravishankar, A Rekha
Planta 2014, 239 (4): 735-51
Soil-borne fungal pathogen, Fusarium oxysporum causes major economic losses by inducing necrosis and wilting symptoms in many crop plants. Management of fusarium wilt is achieved mainly by the use of chemical fungicides which affect the soil health and their efficiency is often limited by pathogenic variability. Hence understanding the nature of interaction between pathogen and host may help to select and improve better cultivars. Current research evidences highlight the role of oxidative burst and antioxidant enzymes indicating that ROS act as an important signaling molecule in banana defense response against Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cubense. The role of jasmonic acid signaling in plant defense against necrotrophic pathogens is well recognized. But recent studies show that the role of salicylic acid is complex and ambiguous against necrotrophic pathogens like Fusarium oxysporum, leading to many intriguing questions about its relationship between other signaling compounds. In case of banana, a major challenge is to identify specific receptors for effector proteins like SIX proteins and also the components of various signal transduction pathways. Significant progress has been made to uncover the role of defense genes but is limited to only model plants such as Arabidopsis and tomato. Keeping this in view, we review the host response, pathogen diversity, current understanding of biochemical and molecular changes that occur during host and pathogen interaction. Developing resistant cultivars through mutation, breeding, transgenic and cisgenic approaches have been discussed. This would help us to understand host defenses against Fusarium oxysporum and to formulate strategies to develop tolerant cultivars.

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