Research Article

A paralogous decoy protects Phytophthora sojae apoplastic effector PsXEG1 from a host inhibitor

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Science  17 Feb 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6326, pp. 710-714
DOI: 10.1126/science.aai7919

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Host-pathogen point-counterpoint

The arms race between pathogen and host is a well-known phenomenon. Ma et al. have now identified how an enzymatically inactive protein can abet a pathogen's infectivity. The pathogenic oomycete Phytophthora sojae secretes xyloglucanase that damages soybean cell walls. Soybean, in turn, secretes a defense protein that binds to and inactivates the xyloglucanase. To counteract this plant defense, the oomycete deploys a product of its own gene duplication: an inactive enzyme that binds the plant's defense protein. With the defense protein unproductively bound to the decoy, the oomycete can successfully invade the soybean cells.

Science, this issue p. 710