Article: Scientific reports

A rust fungal effector binds plant DNA and modulates transcription¬†MB Ahmed, KCG dos Santos, IB Sanchez, B Petre, C Lorrain, MB Plourde, …¬†Scientific Reports 8 (1), 14718


The basidiomycete Melampsora larici-populina causes poplar rust disease by invading leaf tissues and secreting effector proteins through specialized infection structures known as haustoria. The mechanisms by which rust effectors promote pathogen virulence are poorly understood. The present study characterized Mlp124478, a candidate effector of M. larici-populina. We used the models Arabidopsis thalianaand Nicotiana benthamiana to investigate the function of Mlp124478 in plant cells. We established that Mlp124478 accumulates in the nucleus and nucleolus, however its nucleolar accumulation is not required to promote growth of the oomycete pathogen Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis. Stable constitutive expression of Mlp124478 in A. thalianarepressed the expression of genes involved in immune responses, and also altered leaf morphology by increasing the waviness of rosette leaves. Chip-PCR experiments showed that Mlp124478 associats’e with the TGA1a-binding DNA sequence. Our results suggest that Mlp124478 exerts a virulence activity and binds the TGA1a promoter to suppress genes induced in response to pathogen infection.