A Plant Pathogen Type III Effector Protein Subverts Translational Regulation to Boost Host Polyamine Levels

Dousheng Wu, Edda von Roepenack-Lahaye, Matthias Buntru, Orlando de Lange, Niklas Schandry, Alvaro L. Pérez-Quintero, Zasha Weinberg, Tiffany M. Lowe-Power, Boris Szurek, Anthony J. Michael, Caitilyn Allen, Stefan Schillberg, Thomas Lahaye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Pathogenic bacteria inject effector proteins into host cells to manipulate cellular processes and facilitate the infection. Transcription-activator-like effectors (TALEs), an effector class in plant pathogenic bacteria, transcriptionally activate host genes to promote disease. We identify arginine decarboxylase (ADC) genes as the host targets of Brg11, a TALE-like effector from the plant pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum. Brg11 targets a 17-bp sequence that was found to be part of a conserved 50-bp motif, termed the ADC-box, upstream of ADC genes involved in polyamine biosynthesis. The transcribed ADC-box attenuates translation from native ADC mRNAs; however, Brg11 induces truncated ADC mRNAs lacking the ADC-box, thus bypassing this translational control. As a result, Brg11 induces elevated polyamine levels that trigger a defense reaction and likely inhibits bacterial niche competitors but not R. solanacearum. Our findings suggest that Brg11 may give R. solanacearum a competitive advantage and uncover a role for bacterial effectors in regulating ternary microbe-host-microbe interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)638-649.e5
JournalCell Host and Microbe
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 13 2019


  • Ralstonia solanacearum
  • arginine decarboxylase (ADC)
  • microbiota
  • polyamines
  • putrescine
  • rhizosphere
  • translational regulation
  • type III effectors
  • upstream open reading frame (uORF)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Virology


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