Oomycete pathogens encode RNA silencing suppressors

Nat Genet. 2013 Mar;45(3):330-3. doi: 10.1038/ng.2525. Epub 2013 Feb 3.


Effectors are essential virulence proteins produced by a broad range of parasites, including viruses, bacteria, fungi, oomycetes, protozoa, insects and nematodes. Upon entry into host cells, pathogen effectors manipulate specific physiological processes or signaling pathways to subvert host immunity. Most effectors, especially those of eukaryotic pathogens, remain functionally uncharacterized. Here, we show that two effectors from the oomycete plant pathogen Phytophthora sojae suppress RNA silencing in plants by inhibiting the biogenesis of small RNAs. Ectopic expression of these Phytophthora suppressors of RNA silencing enhances plant susceptibility to both a virus and Phytophthora, showing that some eukaryotic pathogens have evolved virulence proteins that target host RNA silencing processes to promote infection. These findings identify RNA silencing suppression as a common strategy used by pathogens across kingdoms to cause disease and are consistent with RNA silencing having key roles in host defense.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / genetics
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / immunology
  • Infections / genetics
  • Infections / parasitology
  • Phytophthora* / genetics
  • Phytophthora* / metabolism
  • Phytophthora* / pathogenicity
  • Plant Diseases* / genetics
  • Plant Diseases* / parasitology
  • Plants* / genetics
  • Plants* / parasitology
  • Proteins / genetics
  • RNA Interference*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Virulence


  • Proteins