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Eukaryot Cell. 2013 Jan;12(1):2-11. doi: 10.1128/EC.00192-12. Epub 2012 Sep 7.

Overexpression of a novel biotrophy-specific Colletotrichum truncatum effector, CtNUDIX, in hemibiotrophic fungal phytopathogens causes incompatibility with their host plants.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada.


The hemibiotrophic fungus Colletotrichum truncatum causes anthracnose disease on lentils and a few other grain legumes. It shows initial symptomless intracellular growth, where colonized host cells remain viable (biotrophy), and then switches to necrotrophic growth, killing the colonized host plant tissues. Here, we report a novel effector gene, CtNUDIX, from C. truncatum that is exclusively expressed during the late biotrophic phase (before the switch to necrotrophy) and elicits a hypersensitive response (HR)-like cell death in tobacco leaves transiently expressing the effector. CtNUDIX homologs, which contain a signal peptide and a Nudix hydrolase domain, may be unique to hemibiotrophic fungal and fungus-like plant pathogens. CtNUDIX lacking a signal peptide or a Nudix motif failed to induce cell death in tobacco. Expression of CtNUDIX:eGFP in tobacco suggested that the fusion protein might act on the host cell plasma membrane. Overexpression of CtNUDIX in C. truncatum and the rice blast pathogen, Magnaporthe oryzae, resulted in incompatibility with the hosts lentil and barley, respectively, by causing an HR-like response in infected host cells associated with the biotrophic invasive hyphae. These results suggest that C. truncatum and possibly M. oryzae elicit cell death to signal the transition from biotrophy to necrotrophy.

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