Seminar title: Comparative structural genomics of pathogen effectors and plant immune receptors: from natural diversity to precise modification
Abstract: Plants rely on the population level diversity in the innate immune receptors to recognize rapidly evolving pathogen-derived molecules. Using comparative structural genomics, we investigate the evolution of both innate immune receptors and fungal effectors. It’s been known that fungi can secrete and translocate 100s of proteins inside the host, and a handful of experimentally solved structures suggested that sequence unrelated effectors can share structural similarities. We used AlphaFold to model 26,653 secreted proteins from 14 fungal pathogens, 6 non-pathogens and an oomycete P. infestans to analyze the evolution of common and divergent folds. Availability of high-quality plant pan-genomes allowed us to identify subsets of highly variable plant immune receptors, predict their ligand binding sites and move towards precise modifications that can alter effector recognition.