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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Plant Biology

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Plant-pathogenic fungi harbor various specialized metabolites including diterpenoids that function as hormones and virulence factors. The fungus Magnaporthe oryzae is the causal agent of rice blast disease and can infect over 50 grass species. We demonstrate that the rice blast fungus encodes two diterpene synthases that produce normal pimara-8,15-diene and manoyl oxide scaffolds. Phylogenetic analysis of diterpene synthases among rice blast pathotypes showed functional conservation of the two core diterpene synthases amongst all pathotypes and suggests further expansion in select grass species. These insights into the blast fungal terpenome may inform efforts to counteract deleterious phytopathogens in crucial food crops.


First Advisor

Sibongile Mafu

Second Advisor

Li Jun Ma

Third Advisor

John Gibbons

Fourth Advisor

Rob Wick

Included in

Plant Biology Commons