Comparative Genomics Identifies Conserved and Variable TAL Effectors in African Strains of the Cotton Pathogen Xanthomonas citri pv. malvacearum

Alvaro L. Pérez-Quintero, Luis M. Rodriguezr, Sara Cuesta-Morrondo, Eliška Hakalová, Daniela Betancurt-Anzola, Laura Carolina Camelo Valera, Luis Alberto Chica Cardenas, Luisa Matiz-Céron, Jonathan M. Jacobs, Veronica Roman-Reyna, Alejandro Reyes Muñoz, Adriana Jimena Bernal Giraldo, Ralf Koebnik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Strains of Xanthomonas citri pv. malvacearum cause bacterial blight of cotton, a potentially serious threat to cotton production worldwide, including in sub-Saharan countries. Development of disease symptoms, such as water soaking, has been linked to the activity of a class of type 3 effectors, called transcription activator-like (TAL) effectors, which induce susceptibility genes in the host’s cells. To gain further insight into the global diversity of the pathogen, to elucidate their repertoires of TAL effector genes, and to better understand the evolution of these genes in the cotton-pathogenic xanthomonads, we sequenced the genomes of three African strains of X. citri pv. malvacearum using nanopore technology. We show that the cotton-pathogenic pathovar of X. citri is a monophyletic lineage containing at least three distinct genetic subclades, which appear to be mirrored by their repertoires of TAL effectors. We observed an atypical level of TAL effector gene pseudogenization, which might be related to resistance genes that are deployed to control the disease. Our work thus contributes to a better understanding of the conservation and importance of TAL effectors in the interaction with the host plant, which can inform strategies for improving resistance against bacterial blight in cotton.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1387-1393
Number of pages7
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science

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