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A Plant Pathogen Type III Effector Protein Subverts Translational Regulation to Boost Host Polyamine Levels

: Wu, D.; Roepenack-Lahaye, E. von; Buntru, M.; Lange, O. de; Schandry, N.; Pérez-Quintero, A.L.; Weinberg, Z.; Lowe-Power, T.M.; Szurek, B.; Michael, A.J.; Allen, C.; Schillberg, S.; Lahaye, T.

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Cell host & microbe 26 (2019), No.5, pp.638-649.e5
ISSN: 1931-3128
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IME ()

Pathogenic bacteria inject effector proteins into host cells to manipulate cellular processes and facilitate the infection. Transcription-activator-like effectors (TALEs), an effector class in plant pathogenic bacteria, transcriptionally activate host genes to promote disease. We identify arginine decarboxylase (ADC) genes as the host targets of Brg11, a TALE-like effector from the plant pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum. Brg11 targets a 17-bp sequence that was found to be part of a conserved 50-bp motif, termed the ADC-box, upstream of ADC genes involved in polyamine biosynthesis. The transcribed ADC-box attenuates translation from native ADC mRNAs; however, Brg11 induces truncated ADC mRNAs lacking the ADC-box, thus bypassing this translational control. As a result, Brg11 induces elevated polyamine levels that trigger a defense reaction and likely inhibits bacterial niche competitors but not R. solanacearum. Our findings suggest that Brg11 may give R. solanacearum a competitive advantage and uncover a role for bacterial effectors in regulating ternary microbe-host-microbe interactions.