William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor

Center for Integrated Fungal Research
Department of Plant Pathology
North Carolina State University


Ph. D., 1986 University of Kentucky
B.S., 1980 University of London, Imperial College, England.


The Dean lab is interested in understanding the mechanisms by which fungal plant pathogens recognize, invade and suppress host defense mechanisms. Dr. Dean’s research program primarily focuses on Magnaporthe oryzaethe causal agent of rice blast disease. Worldwide, this disease is estimated to kill enough rice annually to feed over 60 million people. Much work hascentered on the signaling pathways, particularly cAMP in regulating the initiation and development of appressorium formation, a specialized cell required by M. oryzaeand many other pathogenic fungi for attachment to and penetration of host tissues. Following completion of the genome sequence and deep transcriptional profiling, his research has focused on functional and post genomic approaches to develop a systems view of fungal pathogenesis.  Four major projects involving M. oryzae are currently ongoing in the Dean laboratory and include 1. Characterization of small RNA and gene silencing mechanisms in regulating infection development and host –pathogen interactions. 2. Interrogation of post-translational protein modifications (phosphorylation and ubiquitination) during infection, 3. Identification and characterization of effector proteins,and 4. Comparative genome analysis of foliar and rooting infecting members of the Magnaporthacae. This project involves comparison of the genomes and gene content of M. oryzae with closely related species Gaemanonomyces graminis tritici and M. poae.


Dr. Dean teaches PP707 Plant-Microbe Interactions every Spring, which is co-taughtwith Dr. Carbone. Dr. Dean’s section covers the following topics: 1. Conceptual framework of plant immunity, 2. Effectors and effector delivery systems, 3. Effector recognition, 4. Biotrophic and necrotrophic interactions, 5. Hypersensitive response and programmed cell death, 6. Systemic acquired resistance, 7. Small RNA and disease, and 8. Secondary metabolites and toxins.

Selected Publications


Dean, RA,A Lichens-Park, C Kole 2014 Genomics of Plant-Associated Fungi: Monocot Pathogens Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg

Dean, RA,A Lichens-Park, C Kole 2014 Genomics of Plant-Associated Fungi and Oomycetes: Dicot Pathogens, Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg


Cubeta, MA, E Thomas, RA Dean, S Jabaji, SM Neate, S Tavantzis, et al, Draft genome sequence of the plant-pathogenic soil fungus Rhizoctonia solani anastomonas group 3 strain Rhs1AP. Genome announcements 2014, 2 (5), e01072-14

Losada, L, SB Pakala, ND Fedorova, V Joardar, SA Shabalina, J Hostetler, Dean RA et al. Mobile elements and mitochondrila genome expansion in the soil fungus and potato pathogen Rhizoctonia solani AG3 FEMS microbiology letters 2014 352 (2), 165-173

Jeon J, Choi J, Lee GW, Dean RA, Lee YH., 2013. Experimental evolution reveals genome-wide spectrum and dynamics of mutations in the rice blast fungus, Magnaporthe oryzae. PLoS One. 2013 May 31;8(5):e65416. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0065416. Print 2013.

Franck WL, Gokce E, Oh Y, Muddiman DC, Dean RA., 2013. Temporal analysis of the Magnaporthe oryzae proteome during conidial germination and cyclic AMP (cAMP)-mediated appressorium formation. Mol Cell Proteomics. 2013 Aug;12(8):2249-65. doi: 10.1074/mcp.M112.025874. Epub 2013 May 12.

Sailsbery, J.K.; Dean, R.A. 2012. Accurate discrimination of bHLH domains in plants, animals, and fungi using biologically meaningful sites, BMC Evolutionary Biology,12,1,154.

Oh, Y.; Franck, W.L.; Han, S.O.; Shows, A.; Gokce, E.; Muddiman, D.C.; Dean, R.A. 2012. Polyubiquitin Is Required for Growth, Development and Pathogenicity in the Rice Blast Fungus Magnaporthe oryzae, PloS One,7,8,e42868.

Grokce, E., Franck, W.L., Oh, Y., Dean, R.A., Muddiman D.C. 2012. In-depth analysis of the Magnaporthe oryzae conidial proteome. Journal of Proteome Research 11,12, 5827-5835.

Xue, M.; Yang, J.; Li, Z.; Hu, S.; Yao, N.; Dean, R.A.; Zhao, W.; Shen, M.; Zhang, H.; Li, C. 2012. Comparative Analysis of the Genomes of Two Field Isolates of the Rice Blast Fungus Magnaporthe oryzae, PLoS Genetics,8,8,e1002869.

Dean, R.; Van Kan, J.A.L.; Pretorius, Z.A.; Hammond-Kosack, K.E.; Di Pietro, A.; Spanu, P.D.; Rudd, J.J.; Dickman, M.; Kahmann, R.; Ellis, J. 2012.  The Top 10 fungal pathogens in molecular plant pathology, Molecular Plant Pathology,13,4,414-430.