Many fungi can live both saprophytically and as endophyte or pathogen inside a living plant. In both environments, complex organic polymers are used as sources of nutrients. Propagation inside a living host also requires the ability to respond to immune responses of the host. We review current knowledge of how plant-pathogenic fungi do this. First, we look at how fungi change their global gene expression upon recognition of the host environment, leading to secretion of effectors, enzymes, and secondary metabolites; changes in metabolism; and defense against toxic compounds. Second, we look at what is known about the various cues that enable fungi to sense the presence of living plant cells. Finally, we review literature on transcription factors that participate in gene expression in planta or are suspected to be involved in that process because they are required for the ability to cause disease.


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