Fungal LysM effectors: extinguishers of host immunity?

Trends in Microbiology
Ronnie de Jonge, Bart P H J Thomma

Abstract

Lysin motifs (LysMs) have been recognized in prokaryotes and plants as carbohydrate-binding protein modules. Recently, a novel virulence factor with LysMs was characterized from the plant pathogenic fungus Cladosporium fulvum. Here, we present a survey of public sequence data of 70 fungal species to demonstrate that putatively secreted LysM-containing proteins are widespread in the fungal kingdom, as they are found in mammalian and plant pathogenic species, in addition to saprophytes. We propose that these putative LysM effectors might have a role in sequestration of chitin oligosaccharides - breakdown products of fungal cell walls that are released during invasion and act as triggers of host immunity - to dampen host defence.

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