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Trends in Parasitology
Volume 37 (12), 2021, Pages 1082-1095

Emerging roles of pathogen-secreted host mimics in plant disease development

Dousheng Wu1,4, Lifeng Wang2,4, Yong Zhang3, Lianyang Bai2, Feng Yu1

Hunan Key Laboratory of Plant Functional Genomics and Developmental Regulation, College of Biology, Hunan University, Changsha, 410082, China.


Plant pathogens and parasites use multiple virulence factors to successfully infect plants. While most plant–pathogen interaction studies focus on pathogen effectors and their functions in suppressing plant immunity or interfering with normal cellular processes, other virulence factors likely also contribute. Here we highlight another important strategy used by pathogens to promote virulence: secretion of mimics of host molecules, including peptides, phytohormones, and small RNAs, which play diverse roles in plant development and stress responses. Pathogen-secreted mimics hijack the host endogenous signaling pathways, thereby modulating host cellular functions to the benefit of the pathogen and promoting infection. Understanding the mechanisms of pathogen-secreted host mimics will expand our knowledge of host–pathogen coevolution and interactions, while providing new targets for plant disease control.

Keywords: pathogen effectors, pathogen-secreted host mimics, peptides, phytohormones, sRNA.

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