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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Oct 5;107(40):17421-6. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1008491107. Epub 2010 Sep 16.

Ancient class of translocated oomycete effectors targets the host nucleus.

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  • 1The Sainsbury Laboratory, John Innes Centre, Colney, Norwich NR4 7UH, United Kingdom.


Pathogens use specialized secretion systems and targeting signals to translocate effector proteins inside host cells, a process that is essential for promoting disease and parasitism. However, the amino acid sequences that determine host delivery of eukaryotic pathogen effectors remain mostly unknown. The Crinkler (CRN) proteins of oomycete plant pathogens, such as the Irish potato famine organism Phytophthora infestans, are modular proteins with predicted secretion signals and conserved N-terminal sequence motifs. Here, we provide direct evidence that CRN N termini mediate protein transport into plant cells. CRN host translocation requires a conserved motif that is present in all examined plant pathogenic oomycetes, including the phylogenetically divergent species Aphanomyces euteiches that does not form haustoria, specialized infection structures that have been implicated previously in delivery of effectors. Several distinct CRN C termini localized to plant nuclei and, in the case of CRN8, required nuclear accumulation to induce plant cell death. These results reveal a large family of ubiquitous oomycete effector proteins that target the host nucleus. Oomycetes appear to have acquired the ability to translocate effector proteins inside plant cells relatively early in their evolution and before the emergence of haustoria. Finally, this work further implicates the host nucleus as an important cellular compartment where the fate of plant-microbe interactions is determined.

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