Comparative analysis of secreted protein evolution using expressed sequence tags from four poplar leaf rusts (Melampsora spp.)

BMC Genomics
David L JolyRichard C Hamelin

Abstract

Obligate biotrophs such as rust fungi are believed to establish long-term relationships by modulating plant defenses through a plethora of effector proteins, whose most recognizable feature is the presence of a signal peptide for secretion. Since the phenotypes of these effectors extend to host cells, their genes are expected to be under accelerated evolution stimulated by host-pathogen coevolutionary arms races. Recently, whole genome sequence data has allowed the prediction of secretomes, facilitating the identification of putative effectors. We generated cDNA libraries from four poplar leaf rust pathogens (Melampsora spp.) and used computational approaches to identify and annotate putative secreted proteins with the aim of uncovering new knowledge about the nature and evolution of the rust secretome. While more than half of the predicted secretome members encoded lineage-specific proteins, similarities with experimentally characterized fungal effectors were also identified. A SAGE analysis indicated a strong stage-specific regulation of transcripts encoding secreted proteins. The average sequence identity of putative secreted proteins to their closest orthologs in the wheat stem rust Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici was dram...Continue Reading

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