The Genome Biology of Effector Gene Evolution in Filamentous Plant Pathogens
Annual Reviwer of Phytopthology

2018 - Vol. 56 - pag. 21-40
Authors: Andrea Sánchez-Vallet, Simone Fouché,1 Isabelle Fudal,2 Fanny E. Hartmann,3 Jessica L. Soyer,2 Aurélien Tellier,4 and Daniel Croll5

Filamentous pathogens, including fungi and oomycetes, pose major threats to global food security. Crop pathogens cause damage by secreting effectors that manipulate the host to the pathogen's advantage. Genes encoding such effectors are among the most rapidly evolving genes in pathogen genomes. Here, we review how the major characteristics of the emergence, function, and regulation of effector genes are tightly linked to the genomic compartments where these genes are located in pathogen genomes. The presence of repetitive elements in these compartments is associated with elevated rates of point mutations and sequence rearrangements with a major impact on effector diversification. The expression of many effectors converges on an epigenetic control mediated by the presence of repetitive elements. Population genomics analyses showed that rapidly evolving pathogens show high rates of turnover at effector loci and display a mosaic in effector presence-absence polymorphism among strains. We conclude that effective pathogen containment strategies require a thorough understanding of the effector genome biology and the pathogen's potential for rapid adaptation.