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Scientists unveil model of how Phytophthora infestans scavenges nutrients from living host cells

The oomycete pathogen Phytophthora infestans causes potato and tomato late blight, a disease that is a serious threat to agriculture. P. infestans is a hemibiotrophic pathogen, and during infection, it scavenges nutrients from living host cells for its own proliferation.

To date, the nutrient flux from host to pathogen during infection has hardly been studied, and the interlinked metabolisms of the pathogen and host remain poorly understood.

In a recently published scientific paper, scientists explain how they reconstructed an integrated metabolic model of P. infestans and tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) by integrating two previously published models for both species.

“We used this integrated model to simulate metabolic fluxes from host to pathogen and explored the topology of the model to study the dependencies of the metabolism of P. infestans on that of tomato,” the researchers say.

“This showed, for example, that P. infestans, a thiamine auxotroph, depends on certain metabolic reactions of the tomato thiamine biosynthesis. We also exploited dual-transcriptome data of a time course of a full late blight infection cycle on tomato leaves and integrated the expression of metabolic enzymes in the model.”

Researchers involved in this study: Sander Y. A. Rodenburg, Michael F. Seidl, Howard S. Judelson, Andrea L. Vu, Francine Govers, Dick de Ridder

Read the abstract of the paper and get further information on an ASM Journals webpage here

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