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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2010 Oct;67(20):3425-34. doi: 10.1007/s00018-010-0428-1. Epub 2010 Jun 13.

The long and winding road: virulence effector proteins of plant pathogenic bacteria.

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Section of Plant Physiology, Botanical Institute, University of Basel, Hebelstrasse 1, Basel, Switzerland.


Plant pathogenic bacteria inject about 30 virulence effector proteins into the host cell using a specialized secretion apparatus. Bacteria which are unable to do this elicit host immunity and cannot grow inside living plant tissue. Thus, the primary function of the effectors is to suppress host immunity. The identity of individual effectors within each complement varies even between closely related bacterial strains, and effectors themselves act redundantly and are apparently interchangeable. Many effectors are known to target components of plant defense pathways, but it is difficult to study their role in molecular terms. For some of them, there is controversy about their mode of action. We propose that effectors act promiscuously by targeting host molecules with low specificity and affinity.

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