Verticillium dahliae LysM effectors differentially contribute to virulence on plant hosts

Anja Kombrink, Hanna Rovenich, Xiaoqian Shi, Eduardo Rojas-Padilla, Grardy van den Berg-Velthuis, Emmanouil Domazakis, Ronnie De Jonge, Dirk-Jan Valkenburg, Andrea Sánchez-Vallet, Michael F. Seidl, Bart P.H.J. Thomma*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


Chitin-binding LysM effectors contribute to virulence of various plant pathogenic fungi that are causal agents of foliar diseases. Here, we report on LysM effectors of the soil-borne fungal vascular wilt pathogen Verticillium dahliae. Comparative genomics revealed three core LysM effectors that are conserved in a collection of V. dahliae strains. Remarkably, and in contrast to the previously studied LysM effectors of other plant pathogens, no expression of core LysM effectors was monitored in planta in a taxonomically diverse panel of host plants. Moreover, targeted deletion of the individual LysM effector genes in V. dahliae strain JR2 did not compromise virulence in infections on Arabidopsis, tomato or Nicotiana benthamiana. Interestingly, an additional lineage-specific LysM effector is encoded in the genome of V. dahliae strain VdLs17 but not in any other V. dahliae strain sequenced to date. Remarkably, this lineage-specific effector is expressed in planta and contributes to virulence of V. dahliae strain VdLs17 on tomato, but not on Arabidopsis or on N. benthamiana. Functional analysis revealed that this LysM effector binds chitin, is able to suppress chitin-induced immune responses, and protects fungal hyphae against hydrolysis by plant hydrolytic enzymes. Thus, in contrast to the core LysM effectors of V. dahliae, this lineage-specific LysM effector of strain VdLs17 contributes to virulence in planta.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)596-608
JournalMolecular Plant Pathology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • aggressiveness
  • chitin
  • comparative genomics
  • hyphal protection
  • lineage-specific effector
  • tomato
  • vascular wilt disease


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