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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2011 Aug;14(4):422-8. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2011.05.003. Epub 2011 Jun 20.

Effector proteins that modulate plant--insect interactions.

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Department of Disease and Stress Biology, John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park, Colney Lane, Norwich, NR4 7UH, United Kingdom.


Insect herbivores have highly diverse life cycles and feeding behaviors. They establish close interactions with their plant hosts and suppress plant defenses. Chewing herbivores evoke characteristic defense responses distinguishable from general mechanical damage. In addition, piercing-sucking hemipteran insects display typical feeding behavior that suggests active suppression of plant defense responses. Effectors that modulate plant defenses have been identified in the saliva of these insects. Tools for high-throughput effector identification and functional characterization have been developed. In addition, in some insect species it is possible to silence gene expression by RNAi. Together, this technological progress has enabled the identification of insect herbivore effectors and their targets that will lead to the development of novel strategies for pest resistances in plants.

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