Exploring folds, evolution and host interactions: understanding effector structure/function in disease and immunity.

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Over the past decade, tremendous progress has been made in plant pathology, broadening our understanding of how pathogens colonize their hosts. To manipulate host cell physiology and subvert plant immune responses, pathogens secrete an array of effector proteins. A co-evolutionary arms-race drives the pathogen to constantly reinvent its effector repertoire to undermine plant immunity. In turn, hosts develop novel immune receptors to maintain effector recognition and mount defences. Understanding how effectors promote disease and how they are perceived by the plant’s defence network persist as major subjects in the study of plant-pathogen interactions. Here, we focus on recent advances (over roughly the last two years) in understanding structure/function relationships in effectors from bacteria and filamentous plant pathogens. Structure/function studies of bacterial effectors frequently uncover diverse catalytic activities, while structure-informed similarity searches have enabled cataloguing of filamentous pathogen effectors. We also suggest how such advances have informed the study of plant-pathogen interactions.