Prof. Sarah Gurr BSc ARCS DIC PhD MA
Professor of Molecular Plant Pathology
Daphne Osborne Tutorial Fellow, Somerville College
Tel +44 (0)1865 275813
Fax +44 (0)1865 275074
Last Modified: February 2013
Prof. SJ Gurr
Crops, disease, plant pathogenic fungi and fungal biotechnology
“A Focus on Fungi” .
We wish to identify "weak links" in a pathogen’s relationship with its host and to exploit these in the rational design and/or discovery of fungicides/antifungal compounds. The knowledge gained and techniques described are transferable between fungi implicated in crop disease and medical mycoses. We are interested fungal biotechnology (laccases in a bio-fuel cell, disrupting the fungal cell wall, fungal fabrication of ferromagnets).
The powdery mildews and the rice blast fungus are responsible for enormous annual cereal /rice losses and, currently, are controlled by the wide-spread planting of disease resistant cultivars or by the continuous use of prophylactic fungicides. But neither method is totally successful; the selection pressure towards virulence in the plant pathogen population renders resistance genes ineffective, fungicides are costly, difficult to apply, give some cause for health concerns and pathogens have become "resistant" to many of the more commonly used compounds. We are interested in fungal sensing (the host surface), signalling (signal transduction in the pathogen), stress (management of host-imposed oxidative and nitrosative stress), aging, mode of action of fungicide studies and the exploitation of the more tractable rice blast fungus Magaporthe oryzae to unmask pathogenicity and virulence determinants in biotrophic fungi.
Our work was profiled in April 2008 in BBSRC Business News ((http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/media/releases/2008)
Collaborative work on laccases is with Fraser Armstrong FRS; fungal ferromagnets with Michael Hayward ; cell wall biosynthesis inhibitors with Anthony Fairbanks (Oxford Chemistry Department); microarray analysis with Stephen Roberts (Engineering); fungi and tropical tree diversity with Owen Lewis (Zoology).
Gurr Group Members
Publications (while at this department)
2012) Emerging fungal threats to animal, plant and ecosystem health Nature. 484 (7393): pp 186-194.
2011) The rise and rise of emerging infectious fungi challenges food security and ecosystem health Fungal Biology Reviews..
2010) Genome expansion and gene loss in powdery mildew fungi reveal tradeoffs in extreme parasitism Science. 330 (6010): pp 1543-1546.
2009) Atomic-scale structure of biogenic materials by total X-ray diffraction: A study of bacterial and fungal MnOx ACS Nano. 3 (2): pp 441-445.
2009) The Structure of manganese oxide formed by the fungus Acremonium sp. strain KR21-2 Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 73 (11): pp 3291-3300.
2008) Synthesis of UDP-glucose derivatives modified at the 3-OH as potential chain terminators of Î²-glucan biosynthesis Carbohydrate Research. 343 (6): pp 1012-1022.
2008) Host perception and signal transduction studies in wild-type Blumeria graminis f. sp. hordei and a quinoxyfen-resistant mutant implicate quinoxyfen in the inhibition of serine esterase activity Pest Management Science. 64 (5): pp 544-555.
2008) Cutinase and hydrophobin interplay: A herald for pathogenesis? Plant Signaling and Behavior. 3 (4): pp 248-250
2008) The fate of gene duplicates in the genomes of fungal pathogens Communicative and Integrative Biology. 1 (2):
2008) Evolutionary history of the ancient cutinase family in five filamentous Ascomycetes reveals differential gene duplications and losses and in Magnaporthe grisea shows evidence of sub- and neo-functionalization New Phytologist. 180 (3): pp 711-721.
2007) Carbohydrate chain terminators: Rational design of novel carbohydrate-based antifungal agents ChemBioChem. 8 (11): pp 1241-1245.
2007) Gene microarray analysis using angular distribution decomposition Journal of Computational Biology. 14 (1): pp 68-83.
2007) Synthesis of UDP-GlcNAc derivatives modified at OH-4 as potential chain-terminators of chitin biosynthesis Tetrahedron Asymmetry. 18 (11): pp 1299-1307.
2007) A novel role for catalase B in the maintenance of fungal cell-wall integrity during host invasion in the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe grisea Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions. 20 (5): pp 568-580.
2007) Magnaporthe grisea cutinase2 mediates appressorium differentiation and host penetration and is required for full virulence Plant Cell. 19 (8): pp 2674-2689.
2006) Attachment and adhesion of conidia of Stagonospora nodorum to natural and artificial surfaces Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology. 68: pp 209-215.
2005) Engineering plants with increased disease resistance: How are we going to express it? Trends in Biotechnology. 23 (6): pp 283-290.
2005) Engineering plants with increased disease resistance: What are we going to express? Trends in Biotechnology. 23 (6): pp 275-282.
2004) Induced inaccessibility in barley cells exposed to extracellular material released by non-pathogenic powdery mildew conidia Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology. 64 (4): pp 169-178.
2004) An immunocytochemical and ultra-structural study of the extracellular matrix produced by germinating spores of Stagonospora nodorum on natural and artificial surfaces Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology. 65 (3): pp 123-135.
2004) Blumeria graminis secretes an extracellular catalase during infection of barley: Potential role in suppression of host defence Molecular Plant Pathology. 5 (6): pp 537-547.
2003) Quinoxyfen perturbs signal transduction in barley powdery mildew (Blumeria graminis f.sp. hordei) Molecular Plant Pathology. 4 (3): pp 177-186
2002) Serine esterases are required for pollen tube penetration of the stigma in Brassica Sexual Plant Reproduction. 15 (2): pp 65-74.
2002) A "step down" PCR-based technique for walking into and the subsequent direct-sequence analysis of flanking genomic DNA. Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.). 192: pp 343-350
2001) The barley powdery mildew protein kinase C gene, pkc1 and pkc-like gene, are differentially expressed during morphogenesis Molecular Plant Pathology. 2 (6): pp 327-337.
2001) Expression and sequence analysis of the Blumeria graminis mitogen-activated protein kinase genes, mpk1 and mpk2 Gene. 266: pp 57-65.
2000) Cellular characteristics of temporary partial breakdown of mlo-resistance in barley to powdery mildew Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology. 56 (1): pp 1-11.
2000) Stable transformation of Erysiphe graminis, an obligate biotrophic pathogen of barley Nature Biotechnology. 18 (2): pp 205-207.
2000) Initiation of appressorial germ tube differentiation and appressorial hooking: Distinct morphological events regulated by cAMP signalling in Blumeria graminis f.sp. hordei Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology. 56 (1): pp 39-46.
2000) Initial events in the colonisation of tomatoes by Oidium lycopersici, a distinct powdery mildew fungus of Lycopersicon species Canadian Journal of Botany. 78 (10): pp 1361-1366.
2000) Detection of fungi in sinus fluid of patients with allergic fungal rhinosinusitis Acta Oto-Laryngologica. 120 (2): pp 296-302
2000) Evidence that the cAMP pathway controls emergence of both primary and appressorial germ tubes of barley powdery mildew Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions. 13 (5): pp 494-502
2000) Differential expression of two Blumeria graminis chitin synthase genes Molecular Plant Pathology. 1 (2): pp 125-138
2000) Walking into the unknown: A 'step down' PCR-based technique leading to the direct sequence analysis of flanking genomic DNA Gene. 253 (2): pp 145-150.
1999) Involvement of cAMP and protein kinase A in conidial differentiation by Erysiphe graminis f. sp. hordei Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions. 12 (11): pp 960-968
1999) The roles of cellulase enzymes and mechanical force in host penetration by Erysiphe graminis f.sp. hordei Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology. 55 (3): pp 175-182.
1998) Temporary partial breakdown of mlo-resistance in spring barley by sudden relief of soil water-stress under field conditions: The effects of genetic background and mlo allele Plant Pathology. 47 (4): pp 401-410.
1998) A single amino-acid substitution in the iron-sulphur protein subunit of succinate dehydrogenase determines resistance to carboxin in Mycosphaerella graminicola Current Genetics. 34 (5): pp 393-398.
1997) Otomycosis: The detection of fungi in ears by immunofluorescence microscopy Clinical Otolaryngology and Allied Sciences. 22 (3): pp 275-283
1996) The role of cutinase in germling development and infection by Erysiphe graminis f.sp. hordei Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology. 49 (3): pp 201-211.
1996) Defence-related gene activation during an incompatible interaction between Stagonospora (Septoria) nodorum and barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) coleoptile cells Plant Molecular Biology. 31 (4): pp 741-749
1994) Confocal fluorescence ratio imaging of ion activities in plant cells Scanning Microscopy. 8: pp 391-405.
1994) Barley-fungal interactions: signals and the environment of the host-pathogen interface. Biochemical Society Symposia. 60: pp 75-88
1992) Molecular events at nematode-induced feeding sites Netherlands Journal of Plant Pathology. 98: pp 175-181.
Dr Pietro Spanu, Imperial College, London
Professor Nick Talbot, Exeter University
Dr Gary Gustafson DowAgrosciences
Professor Stephen Roberts, Information Engineering, Oxford
Professor Fraser Armstrong, Inorganic Chemistry, Oxford.
Dr Antony Fairbanks, Chemistry, Oxford
Dr Michael Hayward, Chemistry, Oxford
Dr Owen Lewis, Zoology, Oxford
Professor Rob Freckleton, Sheffield University
Professor Ralph Dean, North Carolina State University