Research Review By:
Williams, Antony J. Royal Society of Chemistry, Wake Forest, North Carolina.
Doyle, Erin L. Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Bogdanove, Adam J. Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York; Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
- TAL effectors in plant disease and disease resistance
- TAL effectors as biological tools
- Future research
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Transcription activator–like (TAL) effectors are DNA-binding proteins found in plant pathogenic bacteria of the genus Xanthomonas. During infection, they are injected by the bacteria into the host plant's cells, where they enter the nucleus, bind to host DNA, and ramp up the expression of host genes that are important for the infection to progress or for symptoms to develop (or both). Different TAL effectors bind to different DNA sequences, and this sequence specificity directs them to their target genes. Identification of the targets of TAL effectors has led to important insights into plant diseases caused by Xanthomonas and how to control these diseases. TAL effectors were recently discovered to recognize their corresponding DNA sequences in a straight-forward and predictable way based on the sequences of amino acids at certain positions in a structurally repetitive part of the proteins. This discovery has simplified the identification of TAL effector targets and has enabled customization of TAL effectors for a variety of applications that depend on targeting specific DNA sequences, including reprogramming gene expression and making changes to DNA in living cells.
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