Marc A. Cubeta

Professor Soil Mycology and Disease Ecology

225 Partners Building III, 851 Main Campus Drive, Raleigh, NC 27606


My laboratory is interested in understanding the ecology and population dynamics of soil fungi that cause plant disease. For many years we have studied the soil fungus Rhizoctonia solani, which is an economically important pathogen of agricultural and forestry crops throughout the world. However, this fungus is also of ecological importance as a recycler of nutrients in soil and because it can stimulate the germination of orchid seeds. Research conducted in my laboratory has provided a conceptual framework for identifying species of R. solani to better define populations to advance our understanding of the evolutionary history and disease ecology of the fungus. Our research suggests that R. solani is not a single species, but is rather a genetically diverse assemblage of species that represent an important early diverging and transitional group of the mushroom forming fungi. Research in my lab is currently focused on understanding the genetic basis of how Rhizoctonia fungi produce sclerotia, which are structures that promote their long-term survival in soil in absence of a plant host. We are also conducting studies with fungi that are closely related to R. solani which are associated with orchids and decayed wood but do not cause plant disease to better understand the complex interactions of these organisms with plants. This new area of research involves bioinformatics and genomics-based methods and is beginning to provide new insight into many fundamental research questions. The ultimate goal of my research program is to generate knowledge that will result in the deployment of improved approaches to reduce economic losses to plant disease while promoting increased productivity and sustainability.




PP222 Kingdom of Fungi (fall and spring) – This course will provide an overview of the diversity of fungi and their ecological, economic, and historical impact on the environment and society. The course is taught as a traditional (face-to-face) class in the fall and as a distance education class in the spring. 

PP575 Introduction to Mycology (fall, odd years) - This course provides a synthesis and survey of organisms in the Kingdom Fungi. Lectures will focus on providing a comprehensive understanding of the biology, diversity, ecology, phylogeny, systematics, and taxonomy of fungi. The laboratory component of this course will complement the lectures and involve characterizing, culturing and identifying fungi sampled from diverse ecological habitats.

Selected Publications: 



Losada, L., Pakala, S., Fedorova, N.D., Joardar, V., Shabalina. S., Hostetler, J., Pakala, S., Zafar, N., Thomas, E.T., Rodriguez-Carres, M., Dean R.A., Dykstra, M., Vilgalys, R.J., Nierman, W.C., and Cubeta, M.A. 2014. Mobile intron-like elements and novel mitochondrial genome expansion in the soil fungus and potato pathogen Rhizoctonia solani. FEMS Letters: (Accepted).


Bartz, F.E., Danehower, D.A., Glassbrook, N., and Cubeta, M.A. 2013. Modulation of the phenylacetic acid metabolic complex by quinic acid alters the disease-causing activity ofRhizoctonia solani on tomato. Phytochemistry 75:

Ferrucho, R.L., Garcia-Dominguez, C., Ramirez-Escobar, U.M., McDonald, B. A., Cubeta, M.A., and P.C. Ceresini, P.C. 2013. The population genetic structure of Rhizoctonia solani AG-3PT from potatoes in the Colombian Andes. Phytopathology 103:862-869.

McCormick, M.A., Grand, L.F., Post, J.B., and Cubeta, M.A. 2013. Phylogenetic and phenotypic characterization of Fomes fasciatus and Fomes fomentarius in the United States. Mycologia 105(6): (In Press).

McCormick, M.A., Cubeta, M.A., and Grand, L.F. 2013. Geography and hosts of the wood decay fungi Fomes fasciatus and Fomes fomentarius in the United States. North American Fungi 8(2):1-53. doi:10.2509/naf2013.008.002.


Skamnaki, V.T., Peumans, W.J., Kantsadi, A.L., Cubeta, M.A., Plas, K., Pakala, S., Zographos, S.E., Smagghe, G., Nierman, W.C., Van Damme, E.J.M., and Leonidas, D.D. 2013.Structural analysis of the Rhizoctonia solani agglutinin reveals a domain-swapping dimeric assembly. FEBS Journal 280:1750-1763.

Burchhardt, K. and Cubeta, M.A. 2012. Microsatellite marker development for the plant pathogenic fungus Monilinia vaccinii-corymbosi. Molecular Ecology Resources 12:72-74.

Thomas, E., Pakala, S., Fedorova, N. D., Nierman, W. C., and Cubeta, M. A. 2012. Triallelic SNP-mediated genotyping of regenerated protoplasts of the heterokaryotic fungus Rhizoctonia solani. Journal of Biotechnology 158:144-150.

Bartz, F.E., Danehower, D.A., Glassbrook, N., and Cubeta, M.A. 2012. Elucidating the role of phenylacetic acid and hydroxy- and methoxy- phenylacetic acid derivatives in the pathogenic activity of Rhizoctonia solani AG-3. Mycologia 104:793-803.

Samuels, G., Ismaiel, A., McMahon, P., Guest, D., Rosmana, A., Junaid, M., Rodriguez-Carres, M., and Cubeta, M.A. 2012. Vascular streak dieback of cacao in Southeast Asia and Melanesia: inplanta detection of the pathogen and a new taxonomy. Fungal Biology 116(1):11-23.


Kaye, A.C., Moyer, J.W., Parks, E.J., Carbone, I., and Cubeta, M.A. 2011.
Population genetic analysis of Tomato spotted wilt virus on peanut in North
Carolina and Virginia. Phytopathology 110:147-153.

Yin, J., Koné, D., Rodriguez-Carres, M. Cubeta, M.A., Burpee, L.L., Fonash, E.G. Csinos, A.S., and Ji, P. 2011. First report of root rot caused by binucleate Rhizoctonia anastomosis group F on Musa spp. Plant Disease 94:490.

Copes, W., Rodriguez-Carres, M., Toda, T., Rinehart, T.A., and Cubeta, M.A. 2011. Seasonal prevalence of species of binucleate Rhizoctonia fungi in growing medium, leaf litter, and stems of container grown azalea. Plant Dis. 95:705-711.


Bartz, F.E., Cubeta, M.A., Toda, T., Naito, S., and Ivors, K. 2010. An in planta method for assessing the role of basidiospores in Rhizoctonia foliar disease of tomato. Plant Disease 94:515-520.

Sullivan, M. J., Parks, E. J., Cubeta, M. A., Gallup, C. A., Moyer, J.W., and Shew, H.D. 2010. Assessment of genetic diversity from a field population of Phytophthora nicotianae with a changing race structure. Plant Disease 94:455-460. (cited as Editor’s pick, April 2010)


Publication prior to 2010