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Mol Plant Pathol. 2018 Oct;19(10):2277-2287. doi: 10.1111/mpp.12698. Epub 2018 Aug 16.

The core effector Cce1 is required for early infection of maize by Ustilago maydis.

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Gregor Mendel Institute (GMI), Austrian Academy of Sciences (OEAW), Vienna BioCenter (VBC), Vienna, 1030, Austria.
Institute of Science and Technology Austria, Klosterneuburg, 3400, Austria.


The biotrophic pathogen Ustilago maydis, the causative agent of corn smut disease, infects one of the most important crops worldwide - Zea mays. To successfully colonize its host, U. maydis secretes proteins, known as effectors, that suppress plant defense responses and facilitate the establishment of biotrophy. In this work, we describe the U. maydis effector protein Cce1. Cce1 is essential for virulence and is upregulated during infection. Through microscopic analysis and in vitro assays, we show that Cce1 is secreted from hyphae during filamentous growth of the fungus. Strikingly, Δcce1 mutants are blocked at early stages of infection and induce callose deposition as a plant defense response. Cce1 is highly conserved among smut fungi and the Ustilago bromivora ortholog complemented the virulence defect of the SG200Δcce1 deletion strain. These data indicate that Cce1 is a core effector with apoplastic localization that is essential for U. maydis to infect its host.


Ustilago maydis ; Zea mays; biotrophic interaction; effector; filamentous fungus; plant pathogen; virulence factor


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