Effector Biology of Biotrophic Plant Fungal Pathogens: Current Advances and Future Prospects

Microbiol Res. 2020 Dec:241:126567. doi: 10.1016/j.micres.2020.126567. Epub 2020 Aug 23.


The interaction of fungal pathogens with their host requires a novel invading mechanism and the presence of various virulence-associated components responsible for promoting the infection. The small secretory proteins, explicitly known as effector proteins, are one of the prime mechanisms of host manipulation utilized by the pathogen to disarm the host. Several effector proteins are known to translocate from fungus to the plant cell for host manipulation. Many fungal effectors have been identified using genomic, transcriptomic, and bioinformatics approaches. Most of the effector proteins are devoid of any conserved signatures, and their prediction based on sequence homology is very challenging, therefore by combining the sequence consensus based upon machine learning features, multiple tools have also been developed for predicting apoplastic and cytoplasmic effectors. Various post-genomics approaches like transcriptomics of virulent isolates have also been utilized for identifying active consortia of effectors. Significant progress has been made in understanding biotrophic effectors; however, most of it is underway due to their complex interaction with host and complicated recognition and signaling networks. This review discusses advances, and challenges in effector identification and highlighted various features of the potential effector proteins and approaches for understanding their genetics and strategies for regulation.

Keywords: Plant fungal pathogens; biotrophs; effectors; genomics; host-pathogen interaction.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Fungal Proteins / genetics
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Fungi / metabolism*
  • Fungi / pathogenicity*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / physiology*
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology
  • Plants / microbiology*


  • Fungal Proteins