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.
Ph.D. 1991 Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
M.S. 1983 Plant Pathology, University of Illinois , Urbana, IL
B.S. 1980 Plant Science, University of Delaware, Newark, DE
PP730 Fungal Genetics and Physiology (fall, odd years) – This course provides an introduction to basic concepts of genetics and physiology of fungi, with emphasis on saprophytic and plant pathogenic filamentous fungi. Current topics on evolution, cell structure, growth and development, gene expression, metabolism, sexual and asexual reproduction and incompatibility systems are discussed. Laboratory exercises are conducted on mutant isolation, sexual and parasexual analysis, genetic transformation, and RFLP and isozyme analysis (co-instructors G. Payne and M.Daub). PP590/790 Advances in Evolutionary Ecology and Population Biology (spring 2012) This is a discussion-based course that focuses on recent research related to the ecology and evolutionary dynamics of fungi and fungal-like organisms associated with insects, plants and soil (co-instructors, Dr. Ignazio Carbone and Kelly Ivors). PP575 Introduction to Mycology (fall, even years) – This course is a survey of the fungal kingdom in context of phyla and classes. Systematics, ecology, biology and utilization. Illustrative material, cultural techniques in laboratories. Collection and paper required.
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)
Ferrucho, R.L., Zala, M., Zhang, Z., Cubeta, M.A., Garcia-Dominguez, C., and Ceresini, P.C. 2009. Highly polymorphic in silico-derived microsatellite loci in the potato-infecting fungal pathogen Rhizoctonia solani anastomosis group 3 from the Colombian Andes. Molecular Ecology Resources 9:1013-1016.
Kanetis, L., Wang, X., Wadl, P.A., Neufeld, K., Holmes, G.A., Ojiambo, P., Cubeta, M.A., and Trigiano, R.T. 2009. Microsatellite loci in the downy mildew pathogen, Pseudoperonospora cubensis. Molecular Ecology Resources 9:1460-1466.
Charlton, N.D., Carbone, I., Tavantzis, S.M., and M.A. Cubeta. 2008. Phylogenetic relatedness of the M2 double stranded RNA in Rhizoctonia fungi. Mycologia 100:555-564.
Ceresini, P.C., Shew, H.D. Vilgalys, R., T.Y. James, and Cubeta, M.A. 2007. Molecular diversity and phylogeography of Rhizoctonia solani AG-3 based on sequence analysis of two nuclear loci. BMC Evolutionary Biology 7:163-184.
Charlton, N.D. and Cubeta, M.A. 2007. Transmission of the M2 double-stranded RNA virus in Rhizoctonia solani anastomosis group 3 (AG-3). Mycologia 99:859-867.
Cubeta, M.A., Mozley, S.E., and Porter, D. 2007. Laboratory Exercises with Zoosporic Fungi. In Plant Pathology Laboratory Exercises and Concepts. CRC Press, eds. Trigiano and Windham, pp. 99-110 (revised from 2003).
Mozley, S.E., Leander, C.E., Porter, D, and Cubeta, M.A. 2007. Concepts: Zoosporic Fungi. In Plant Pathology Laboratory Exercises and Concepts. CRC Press, eds. Trigiano and Windham, pp. 91-98 (revised from 2003 with concept examples).
Rinehart, T., Copes, W., Toda, T. and Cubeta, M.A. 2007. Genetic characterization of binucleate Rhizoctonia species causing web blight on azalea in Mississippi and Alabama. Plant Dis. 91:616-623.
Gonzalez-Hernandez, D., Vilgalys, R., and Cubeta, M.A. 2006. Phylogenetic utility of indels within sequences of ribosomal and beta-tubulin genes in fungi belonging to the Rhizoctonia species complex. Mol. Phylogen. Evol. 40:459-470.