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Plant Cell. 2011 Jun;23(6):2064-86. doi: 10.1105/tpc.111.086082. Epub 2011 Jun 7.

Transcriptional programming and functional interactions within the Phytophthora sojae RXLR effector repertoire.

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Department of Plant Pathology, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China.


The genome of the soybean pathogen Phytophthora sojae contains nearly 400 genes encoding candidate effector proteins carrying the host cell entry motif RXLR-dEER. Here, we report a broad survey of the transcription, variation, and functions of a large sample of the P. sojae candidate effectors. Forty-five (12%) effector genes showed high levels of polymorphism among P. sojae isolates and significant evidence for positive selection. Of 169 effectors tested, most could suppress programmed cell death triggered by BAX, effectors, and/or the PAMP INF1, while several triggered cell death themselves. Among the most strongly expressed effectors, one immediate-early class was highly expressed even prior to infection and was further induced 2- to 10-fold following infection. A second early class, including several that triggered cell death, was weakly expressed prior to infection but induced 20- to 120-fold during the first 12 h of infection. The most strongly expressed immediate-early effectors could suppress the cell death triggered by several early effectors, and most early effectors could suppress INF1-triggered cell death, suggesting the two classes of effectors may target different functional branches of the defense response. In support of this hypothesis, misexpression of key immediate-early and early effectors severely reduced the virulence of P. sojae transformants.

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