Fungal effector Ecp6 outcompetes host immune receptor for chitin binding through intrachain LysM dimerization

A. Sánchez-Vallet, R. Saleem-Batcha, A. Kombrink, G. Hansen, D.J. Valkenburg, B.P.H.J. Thomma, J.R. Mesters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

184 Citations (Scopus)


While host immune receptors detect pathogen-associated molecular patterns to activate immunity, pathogens attempt to deregulate host immunity through secreted effectors. Fungi employ LysM effectors to prevent recognition of cell wall-derived chitin by host immune receptors, although the mechanism to compete for chitin binding remained unclear. Structural analysis of the LysM effector Ecp6 of the fungal tomato pathogen Cladosporium fulvum reveals a novel mechanism for chitin binding, mediated by intrachain LysM dimerization, leading to a chitin-binding groove that is deeply buried in the effector protein. This composite binding site involves two of the three LysMs of Ecp6 and mediates chitin binding with ultra-high (pM) affinity. Intriguingly, the remaining singular LysM domain of Ecp6 binds chitin with low micromolar affinity but can nevertheless still perturb chitin-triggered immunity. Conceivably, the perturbation by this LysM domain is not established through chitin sequestration but possibly through interference with the host immune receptor complex.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00790
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • high-affinity binding
  • n-acetylchitooligosaccharide elicitor
  • cultured rice cells
  • tomato cells
  • triggered immunity
  • magnaporthe-oryzae
  • perception system
  • plasma-membrane
  • innate immunity
  • arabidopsis


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