A plant pathogen utilizes effector proteins for microbiome manipulation

Nick C. Snelders, Hanna Rovenich, Gabriella C. Petti, Mercedes Rocafort, Julia A. Vorholt, Jeroen R. Mesters, Michael F. Seidl, Reindert Nijland, Bart P.H.J. Thomma


During colonization of their hosts, pathogens secrete effector proteins to promote disease development through various mechanisms. Increasing evidence shows that the host microbiome plays a crucial role in health, and that hosts actively shape their microbiomes to suppress disease. We hypothesized that pathogens evolved to manipulate host microbiomes to their advantage in turn. Here, we show that the fungal plant pathogen Verticillium dahliae utilizes effector proteins for niche colonization through selective manipulation of host microbiomes by suppressing microbes with antagonistic activities. Moreover, we show that effector proteins are similarly exploited for microbiome manipulation in the soil environment, where the fungus resides in absence of a host. In conclusion, we demonstrate that pathogens utilize effector proteins to modulate microbiome compositions and propose that their effector catalogs represent an untapped resource for novel antibiotics.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 31.01.2020

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 201-01 Biochemistry


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