You are currently viewing the abstract.View Full Text
Biotrophic pathogens, such as the related maize pathogenic fungi Ustilago maydis and Sporisorium reilianum, establish an intimate relationship with their hosts by secreting protein effectors. Because secreted effectors interacting with plant proteins should rapidly evolve, we identified variable genomic regions by sequencing the genome of S. reilianum and comparing it with the U. maydis genome. We detected 43 regions of low sequence conservation in otherwise well-conserved syntenic genomes. These regions primarily encode secreted effectors and include previously identified virulence clusters. By deletion analysis in U. maydis, we demonstrate a role in virulence for four previously unknown diversity regions. This highlights the power of comparative genomics of closely related species for identification of virulence determinants.