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Mol Plant Pathol. 2014 May;15(4):342-51. doi: 10.1111/mpp.12097. Epub 2013 Nov 26.

The phytotoxic activity of the cerato-platanin BcSpl1 resides in a two-peptide motif on the protein surface.

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  • 1Departamento de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular, Universidad de La Laguna, E-38206, La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain.


Cerato-platanin family proteins are secreted and have been found in both the fungal cell wall and the extracellular medium. They elicit defence responses in a variety of plants and have been proposed to be perceived as pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) by the plant immune system, although, in the case of the necrotroph Botrytis cinerea, the cerato-platanin BcSpl1 contributes to fungal virulence instead of plant resistance. In this study, we report that BcSpl1, which was previously found in the secretome as an abundant protein, is even more abundant in the fungal cell wall. By fusion to green fluorescent protein (GFP), we also show that BcSpl1 associates with the plant plasma membrane causing rapid morphological changes at the cellular level, such as the disorganization of chloroplasts, prior to macroscopic necrosis in the treated tissue. By a combination of serial deletion studies, synthetic peptides and chimeric proteins, we mapped the eliciting activity to a two-peptide motif in the protein surface. The expression of a chimeric protein displaying this motif in B. cinerea mutants lacking BcSpl1 undoubtedly showed that the motif is responsible for the contribution of BcSpl1 to virulence.


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