Evolution of the EKA family of powdery mildew avirulence-effector genes from the ORF 1 of a LINE retrotransposon.

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The Avrk1 and Avra10 avirulence (AVR) genes encode effectors that increase the pathogenicity of the fungus Blumeria graminis f.sp. hordei (Bgh), the powdery mildew pathogen, in susceptible barley plants. In resistant barley, MLK1 and MLA10 resistance proteins recognize the presence of AVRK1 and AVRA10, eliciting the hypersensitive response typical of gene for gene interactions. Avrk1 and Avra10 have more than 1350 homologues in Bgh genome, forming the EKA (Effectors homologous to Avr k 1 and Avr a 10) gene family.