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Methods Mol Biol. 2014;1127:277-90. doi: 10.1007/978-1-62703-986-4_21.

A bacterial type III secretion-based delivery system for functional assays of fungal effectors in cereals.

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CSIRO Plant Industry, 1600, Canberra, ACT, 2601, Australia,


Large numbers of candidate effectors are being identified by genome sequencing of fungal pathogens and in planta expression studies. These effectors are both a boon and a curse for pathogens as they modulate the host cellular environment or suppress defense response to allow fungal growth as well as become targets of plant resistance (R) proteins. Recognition of a fungal effector by a plant R protein triggers a hypersensitive reaction (HR) leading to death of plant cells in and around the infection site, thus preventing further proliferation of the pathogen. Such HR induction has been used as an indicator of effector activity in functional assays of candidate effectors in dicots based on Agrobacterium-mediated transient expression. However, the Agrobacterium assay is not functional in cereal leaves. We therefore have adapted an alternative assay based on effector protein delivery using the type III secretion system (T3SS) of a non-pathogenic Pseudomonas spp. for use in wheat and other cereals. Here, we describe protocols for delivery of effector proteins into wheat and barley cells using the AvrRpm1 T3SS signal in the engineered non-pathogenic Pseudomonas fluorescens strain Effector-to-Host Analyzer (EtHAn). For ease of making expression clones we have generated the GATEWAY cloning compatible vectors. A calmodulin-dependent adenylate cyclase (Cya) reporter protein can be used as an effective marker for fusion protein delivery into wheat and barley by this system.

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