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Microbiology. 2008 Dec;154(Pt 12):3743-51. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.2008/021964-0.

Plasmodium falciparum and Hyaloperonospora parasitica effector translocation motifs are functional in Phytophthora infestans.

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Plant Pathology Programme, Scottish Crop Research Institute, Invergowrie, Dundee DD2 5DA, UK.


The oomycete potato late blight pathogen, Phytophthora infestans, and the apicomplexan malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum translocate effector proteins inside host cells, presumably to the benefit of the pathogen or parasite. Many oomycete candidate secreted effector proteins possess a peptide domain with the core conserved motif, RxLR, located near the N-terminal secretion signal peptide. In the Ph. infestans effector Avr3a, RxLR and an additional EER motif are essential for translocation into host cells during infection. Avr3a is recognized in the host cytoplasm by the R3a resistance protein. We have exploited this cytoplasmic recognition to report on replacement of the RxLR-EER of Avr3a with the equivalent sequences from the intracellular effectors ATR1NdWsB and ATR13 from the related oomycete pathogen, Hyaloperonospora parasitica, and the host targeting signal from the Pl. falciparum virulence protein PfHRPII. Introduction of these chimeric transgenes into Ph. infestans and subsequent virulence testing on potato plants expressing R3a demonstrated the alternative motifs to be functional in translocating Avr3a inside plant cells. These results suggest common mechanisms for protein translocation in both malaria and oomycete pathosystems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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