Discovery of Phytophthora infestans Genes Expressed in Planta through Mining of cDNA Libraries

Abstract

BACKGROUND Phytophthora infestans (Mont.) de Bary causes late blight of potato and tomato, and has a broad host range within the Solanaceae family. Most studies of the Phytophthora--Solanum pathosystem have focused on gene expression in the host and have not analyzed pathogen gene expression in planta. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS We describe in detail an in silico approach to mine ESTs from inoculated host plants deposited in a database in order to identify particular pathogen sequences associated with disease. We identified candidate effector genes through mining of 22,795 ESTs corresponding to P. infestans cDNA libraries in compatible and incompatible interactions with hosts from the Solanaceae family. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE We annotated genes of P. infestans expressed in planta associated with late blight using different approaches and assigned putative functions to 373 out of the 501 sequences found in the P. infestans genome draft, including putative secreted proteins, domains associated with pathogenicity and poorly characterized proteins ideal for further experimental studies. Our study provides a methodology for analyzing cDNA libraries and provides an understanding of the plant--oomycete pathosystems that is independent of the host, condition, or type of sample by identifying genes of the pathogen expressed in planta.

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