Pathogens MDPI Special Issue "Recent Advances on Pathogenomics of Verticillium Species"

Vie, 05/03/2021

Several Verticillium species are relevant soil-borne plant pathogens, infecting nearly 400 host species belonging to over 40 botanical families. Such a large host range, together with their ubiquity and long survival in soils, make these pathogens particularly difficult to control, especially after the drastic reduction in the available soil-deliverable fumigants and fungicides. Very few host resistance genes have, so far, been found, while polygenic resistance sources are often insufficient to control the pathogen effectively. In the last century, research efforts have aimed to tackle Verticillium wilts in many crops. Furthermore, physical, agronomical, chemical, and biological control measures have been studied and implemented either individually or in combination within integrated frameworks in the attempt to contain yield losses due to Verticillium-induced diseases. Nowadays, it seems that this research approach has reached a plateau and outstanding advances are hardly achieved. However, with the advent of high-throughput “-omics” technologies, increasing research focused on the fungus genome and its interaction with plant hosts and belowground microbiomes have surfaced. In addition, hundreds of pathogen effectors, secreted molecules that sabotage host machinery during the infection process, have been identified. Some of these effectors serve as valuable tools in effectoromics and are being exploited for accelerated and improved identification of immune receptors in modern resistance breeding, Pathogenomics greatly contributes to the in-depth understanding of the mechanisms underlying pathogenicity and virulence of the pathogen as well as defense and resistance of the host, thus paving the way for novel control strategies. Due to its recent emergence, the pathogenomics of Verticillium species is as young as it is challenging, and contributions in this field are being produced by scientists all around the world. Coordination actions, joint efforts, and open discussions would serve to better orientate investigations towards the shared objective of controlling this pathogen effectively. We warmly invite all scientists interested in Verticillium to contribute to this Special Issue by sharing their most recent and innovative research results. Moreover, comprehensive reviews are particularly encouraged. This Special Issue, hence, aims to address multifaceted aspects of the fungus and its pathogenomics falling under but not limited to:

  • Pathogenicity, virulence/avirulence factors, and effector proteins;
  • Population genomics and evolutionary events;
  • Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) and chromosomal rearrangement;
  • Manipulation of plant host immunity responses (plant hormones, small RNAs, secondary metabolite pathways, cell wall modifications, etc.);
  • Molecular cross-talk between Verticillium and belowground host-associated microbiota;
  • Modulation of Verticillium aggressiveness by biotic and abiotic factors.

We look forward to your contributions.

Dr. Giovanni Bubici
Dr. Jesús Mercado-Blanco
Prof. Dr. Fouad Daayf
Dr. Sabina Berne
Dr. Maria Isabella Prigigallo
Dr. Carmen Gómez‐Lama Cabanás
Guest Editors


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