Effector specialization in a lineage of the Irish potato famine pathogen

Suomeng Dong, Remco Stam, Liliana M. Cano, Jing Song, Jan Sklenar, Kentaro Yoshida, Tolga O. Bozkurt, Ricardo Oliva, Zhenyu Liu, Miaoying Tian, Joe Win, Mark J. Banfield, Alexandra M E Jones, Renier A L Van Der Hoorn, Sophien Kamoun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

157 Citations (Scopus)


Accelerated gene evolution is a hallmark of pathogen adaptation following a host jump. Here, we describe the biochemical basis of adaptation and specialization of a plant pathogen effector after its colonization of a new host. Orthologous protease inhibitor effectors from the Irish potato famine pathogen, Phytophthora infestans, and its sister species, Phytophthora mirabilis, which is responsible for infection of Mirabilis jalapa, are adapted to protease targets unique to their respective host plants. Amino acid polymorphisms in both the inhibitors and their target proteases underpin this biochemical specialization. Our results link effector specialization to diversification and speciation of this plant pathogen.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552-555
Number of pages4
Issue number6170
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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