• Little is known about how effectors from filamentous eukaryotic plant pathogens manipulate host defences. Recently, Phytophthora infestans RXLR effector AVR3a has been shown to target and stabilize host E3 ligase CMPG1, which is required for programmed cell death (PCD) triggered by INF1. We investigated the involvement of CMPG1 in PCD elicited by perception of diverse pathogen proteins, and assessed whether AVR3a could suppress each. • The role of CMPG1 in PCD events was investigated using virus-induced gene silencing, and the ability of AVR3a to suppress each was determined by transient expression of natural forms (AVR3a(KI) and AVR3a(EM)) and a mutated form, AVR3a(KI/Y147del) , which is unable to interact with or stabilize CMPG1. • PCD triggered at the host plasma membrane by Cf-9/Avr9, Cf-4/Avr4, Pto/AvrPto or the oomycete pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP), cellulose-binding elicitor lectin (CBEL), required CMPG1 and was suppressed by AVR3a, but not by the AVR3a(KI/Y147del) mutant. Conversely, PCD triggered by nucleotide-binding site-leucine-rich repeat (NBS-LRR) proteins R3a, R2 and Rx was independent of CMPG1 and unaffected by AVR3a. • CMPG1-dependent PCD follows perception of diverse pathogen elicitors externally or in association with the inner surface of the host plasma membrane. We argue that AVR3a targets CMPG1 to block initial signal transduction/regulatory processes following pathogen perception at the plasma membrane.
© 2011 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2011 New Phytologist Trust.