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Remote homology clustering identifies lowly conserved families of effector proteins in plant-pathogenic fungi
Microbial Genomics  (IF5.237),  Pub Date : 2021-09-01, DOI: 10.1099/mgen.0.000637
Darcy A. B. Jones, Paula M. Moolhuijzen and James K. Hane

Plant diseases caused by fungal pathogens are typically initiated by molecular interactions between ‘effector’ molecules released by a pathogen and receptor molecules on or within the plant host cell. In many cases these effector-receptor interactions directly determine host resistance or susceptibility. The search for fungal effector proteins is a developing area in fungal-plant pathology, with more than 165 distinct confirmed fungal effector proteins in the public domain. For a small number of these, novel effectors can be rapidly discovered across multiple fungal species through the identification of known effector homologues. However, many have no detectable homology by standard sequence-based search methods. This study employs a novel comparison method (RemEff) that is capable of identifying protein families with greater sensitivity than traditional homology-inference methods, leveraging a growing pool of confirmed fungal effector data to enable the prediction of novel fungal effector candidates by protein family association. Resources relating to the RemEff method and data used in this study are available from https://figshare.com/projects/Effector_protein_remote_homology/87965.