A secreted LysM effector protects fungal hyphae through chitin-dependent homodimer polymerization

Andrea Sánchez-Vallet, Hui Tian, Luis Rodriguez-Moreno, Dirk Jan Valkenburg, Raspudin Saleem-Batcha, Stephan Wawra, Anja Kombrink, Leonie Verhage, Ronnie de Jonge, H. Peter van Esse, Alga Zuccaro, Daniel Croll, Jeroen R. Mesters*, Bart P.H.J. Thomma

*Corresponding author for this work
1 Citation (Scopus)


Plants trigger immune responses upon recognition of fungal cell wall chitin, followed by the release of various antimicrobials, including chitinase enzymes that hydrolyze chitin. In turn, many fungal pathogens secrete LysM effectors that prevent chitin recognition by the host through scavenging of chitin oligomers. We previously showed that intrachain LysM dimerization of the Cladosporium fulvum effector Ecp6 confers an ultrahigh-affinity binding groove that competitively sequesters chitin oligomers from host immune receptors. Additionally, particular LysM effectors are found to protect fungal hyphae against chitinase hydrolysis during host colonization. However, the molecular basis for the protection of fungal cell walls against hydrolysis remained unclear. Here, we determined a crystal structure of the single LysM domain-containing effector Mg1LysM of the wheat pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici and reveal that Mg1LysM is involved in the formation of two kinds of dimers; a chitin-dependent dimer as well as a chitin-independent homodimer. In this manner, Mg1LysM gains the capacity to form a supramolecular structure by chitin-induced oligomerization of chitin-independent Mg1LysM homodimers, a property that confers protection to fungal cell walls against host chitinases.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1008652
JournalPLoS Pathogens
Issue number6 June
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 06.2020

Research Areas and Centers

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

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 201-01 Biochemistry


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