Insidious fungal infections by postharvest pathogens remain quiescent during fruit growth until, at a particular phase during fruit ripening and senescence, the pathogens switch to the necrotrophic lifestyle and cause decay. During ripening, fruits undergo physiological processes, such as activation of ethylene biosynthesis, cuticular changes, and cell-wall loosening—changes that are accompanied by a decline of antifungal compounds, both those that are preformed and those that are inducible secondary metabolites. Pathogen infection of the unripe host fruit initiates defensive signal-transduction cascades, culminating in accumulation of antifungal proteins that limit fungal growth and development. In contrast, development of the same pathogens during fruit ripening and storage activates a substantially different signaling network, one that facilitates aggressive fungal colonization. This review focuses on responses induced by the quiescent pathogens of postharvest diseases in unripe host fruits. New genome-scale experimental approaches have begun to delineate the complex and multiple networks of host and pathogen responses activated to maintain or to facilitate the transition from the quiescent to the necrotrophic lifestyle.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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