Characterisation of a leaf-specific Ustilago maydis α-L-arabinofuranosidase
The basidiomycete fungi Ustilago maydis is an important model for biotrophic host-pathogen interactions. U. maydis is the only smut that can infect all aerial organs of the maize plant. To understand the biotrophic establishment of U. maydis on maize plants, we identified a set of effector proteins with organ-specific function. The finding that effector proteins are organ specific is new and opens a novel aspect in the field of biotrophy in plant-pathogen interactions. We are currently investigating how U. maydis adapts to different host environments/ tissues through the use of specific effector proteins. In this context, my project aims for a functional characterization of a leaf-specific U. maydis effector, which is predicted to encode an α-L-arabinofuranosidase, a hemicellulose degrading enzyme.