Long-distance endosome trafficking drives fungal effector production during plant infection

To cause plant disease, pathogenic fungi can secrete effector proteins into plant cells to suppress plant immunity and facilitate fungal infection. Most fungal pathogens infect plants using very long strand-like cells, called hyphae, that secrete effectors from their tips into host tissue. How fungi undergo long-distance cell signalling to regulate effector production during infection is not known. Here we show that long-distance retrograde motility of early endosomes (EEs) is necessary to trigger transcription of effector-encoding genes during plant infection by the pathogenic fungus Ustilago maydis. We demonstrate that motor-dependent retrograde EE motility is necessary for regulation of effector production and secretion during host cell invasion. We further show that retrograde signalling involves the mitogen-activated kinase ​Crk1 that travels on EEs and participates in control of effector production. Fungal pathogens therefore undergo long-range signalling to orchestrate host invasion.

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