Alternaria host-selective toxins: Determinant factors of plant disease

Kazuya Akimitsu, Takashi Tsuge, Motoichiro Kodama, Mikihiro Yamamoto, Hiroshi Otani

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Seven diseases caused by pathotypes of Alternaria alternata, which produced host-selective toxins (HSTs), a diverse group of low-molecular-weight secondary metabolites, are known, and each HST has an essential role as a determinant of pathogenicity in all interactions between the plant host and A. alternata. Although these HST-producing pathotypes are morphologically indistinguishable, each has a distinct host range and can be distinguished by its specificity on the respective host plant, hence their designation as pathotypes of A. alternata. In 1933, Tanaka made the first discovery of a HST; fungus-free culture filtrates of A. kikuchiana (now called A. alternata Japanese pear pathotype) were toxic to susceptible cultivar Nijisseiki, but not to resistant cultivars. Over the 80 years since then, the structure of HST molecules, target sites and mode of actions of HSTs, and the molecular genetics of HST production regulating by supernumerary chromosomes encoding HST gene clusters have been studied extensively. We focus this review on studies of low-molecular-weight HSTs produced by A. alternata and give an overview of various types of HST studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-122
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of General Plant Pathology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


  • Conditionally dispensable chromosome
  • Effector
  • Host selectivity
  • Pathogenicity
  • Secondary metabolite
  • Virulence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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