Xanthomonads are bacterial plant pathogens that cause diseases on many plant species, including important crops. Key to pathogenicity of most pathovars is a Hrp-type III secretion (T3S) system that translocates effector proteins into plant cells. Within the eukaryotic cell, the effectors are thought to perform a variety of tasks to support bacterial virulence, proliferation, and dissemination. We are only beginning to understand the host targets of different effectors. The largest effector family found in spp. is the AvrBs3/PthA or TAL (transcription activator-like) family. TAL effectors act as transcriptional activators in the plant cell nucleus. Specificity of TAL effectors is determined by a novel modular DNA-binding domain. Here, we describe the discovery of TAL effectors and their structure, activity, and host targets.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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