Relève étoile Louis-Berlinguet 
June 2018

Joan Laur

Postdoctoral fellow at the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences
Université Laval

Award-winning publication: Effectors involved in fungal-fungal interaction lead to a rare phenomenon of hyperbiotrophy in the tritrophic system biocontrol agent-powdery mildew-plant

Published in: New Phytologist


The chalky stains that gardeners often notice on their plants is known as powdery mildew—a fungal parasite that thrives on the plants' own resources, cutting the number of expected crops by half. But another fungus, Pseudozyma flocculosa, has been found to shake up this plant-pathogen relationship. To efficiently complete its biological cycle, the fungus relies on the same strategy as powdery mildew: it diverts the nutrients extracted by the pathogen, which initially becomes more virulent but then quickly fades and dies, thus freeing the plant. Indeed, P. flocculosa among the first biofungicides to be commercialized. Joan Laur demonstrated the feasibility of the parallel analysis of three transcriptomes, the sets of RNA from gene transcription. The technical approach sets a precedent that will certainly prove useful for the study of complex biological systems.