Research Topic

Bioinformatics Applications In Molecular Plant Pathology

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The applications of bioinformatics to plant pathology has been pivotal to recent advancements of our understanding of pathogen adaptation, evolution, and molecular interactions between host and pathogen. The increasing influx of sequence data that has been the result of the genomic era has vastly increased ...

The applications of bioinformatics to plant pathology has been pivotal to recent advancements of our understanding of pathogen adaptation, evolution, and molecular interactions between host and pathogen. The increasing influx of sequence data that has been the result of the genomic era has vastly increased activity within the field of genome and transcriptome bioinformatics, in particular, with computational analyses from other sources of biological data having been similarly enriched. The generation of genomic resources for important plant species has allowed for high-throughput reverse genetics approaches to be applied for the purpose of crop improvement – including improved resistance to pathogens. Likewise, the generation of genomic resources for major plant pathogens has provided the foundations for ongoing investigations into the nature of their disease interactions with their hosts, as well as insights into the genome mutation mechanisms conferring their abilities for rapid adaptation. Comparisons between multiple pathogen genomes have assisted in the identification of genes that have an important bearing on infection outcomes, and continue to be an effective tool for prediction of pathogenicity ‘effectors’.

Active investigations into the properties of pathogen effectors have delivered a series of useful tools for their prediction, however, challenges remain and there is scope for further improvements in this area. At its core, plant pathogen bioinformatics has been mostly applied in order to understand the varied mechanisms of host infection, with a view to the eventual translation of this knowledge into the revision of current disease management practices. However, as the cost of sequencing has decreased over time, an increasing trend in pathogen bioinformatics studies has been the analysis of larger numbers of isolates or broader populations. This has extended the scope and scale of pathogen bioinformatic research towards population dynamics and spatial surveys of plant diseases.

This Research Topic covers a broad range of topics, including but not limited to:
• Genome analysis and comparative genomics of pathogens
• Pathogen evolution
• Study and prediction of pathogenicity factors and effector molecules
• Population-level studies of pathogen distribution and environmental interactions
• Crop-disease diagnostic tools
• Crop-genome studies addressing disease resistance
• Comparative genomic/transcriptomic analyses

The topic welcomes both, Original Research and Review articles. Please note, descriptive studies are welcome if they are extended to provide meaningful insights into plant pathology.


Keywords: Bioinformatics, Plant Pathology, Effector, Host-Microbe Interactions, Predictive Biology


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