The RXLR effector PcAvh1 is required for full virulence of phytophthora capsici

Xiao Ren Chen, Ye Zhang, Hai Yang Li, Zi Hui Zhang, Gui Lin Sheng, Yan Peng Li, Yu Ping Xing, Shen Xin Huang, Hang Tao, Tung Kuan, Yi Zhai, Wenbo Ma

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34 Citations (Scopus)


Plant pathogens employ diverse secreted effector proteins to manipulate host physiology and defense in order to foster diseases. The destructive Phytophthora pathogens encode hundreds of cytoplasmic effectors, which are believed to function inside the plant cells. Many of these cytoplasmic effectors contain the conserved N-terminal RXLR motif. Understanding the virulence function of RXLR effectors will provide important knowledge of Phytophthora pathogenesis. Here, we report the characterization of RXLR effector PcAvh1 from the broad–host range pathogen Phytophthora capsici. Only expressed during infection, PcAvh1 is quickly induced at the early infection stages. CRISPR/Cas9-knockout of PcAvh1 in P. capsici severely impairs virulence while overexpression enhances disease development in Nicotiana benthamiana and bell pepper, demonstrating that PcAvh1 is an essential virulence factor. Ectopic expression of PcAvh1 induces cell death in N. benthamiana, tomato, and bell pepper. Using yeast two-hybrid screening, we found that PcAvh1 interacts with the scaffolding subunit of the protein phosphatase 2A (PP2Aa) in plant cells. Virus-induced gene silencing of PP2Aa in N. benthamiana attenuates resistance to P. capsici and results in dwarfism, suggesting that PP2Aa regulates plant immunity and growth. Collectively, these results suggest that PcAvh1 contributes to P. capsici infection, probably through its interaction with host PP2Aa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)986-1000
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular Plant-Microbe Interactions
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Bell pepper
  • CRISPR/Cas9
  • Oomycete effectors
  • Phytophthora capsici
  • Phytophthora diseases
  • Plant immunity
  • Protein phosphatase 2A
  • RXLR effector
  • Virulence

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