Phytopathogens secrete effector proteins that enter and manipulate plant cells to facilitate microbial growth in planta. This is often achieved by exerting specific activity onto key host proteins to divert host cellular functions towards supporting pathogen growth. In a recently published article in Plant Physiology (2018), Murphy et al. describe the identification of the potato MAP3K VIK (VASCULAR HIGHWAY-INTERACTING KINASE) as the endogenous host target of the Phytophthora infestans (oomycete) RXLR effector protein Pi17316. Virus-induced gene silencing of VIK was shown to impart resistance to Phytophthora, whereas VIK overexpression rendered plants more susceptible to disease. The authors therefore concluded that VIK represents a susceptibility factor that is exploited by P. infestans to facilitate disease progression in potato. (Summary by Philip Carella) Plant Phys. 10.1104/pp.18.00028
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