Biotrophic plant pathogens secrete effector proteins that are important for infection of the host. The aim of this study was to identify effectors of the downy mildew pathogen Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis (Hpa) that are expressed during infection of its natural host Arabidopsis thaliana. Infection-related transcripts were identified from Expressed Sequence Tags (ESTs) derived from leaves of the susceptible Arabidopsis Ws eds1-1 mutant inoculated with the highly virulent Hpa isolate Waco9. Assembly of 6364 ESTs yielded 3729 unigenes, of which 2164 were Hpa-derived. From the translated Hpa unigenes, 198 predicted secreted proteins were identified. Of these, 75 were found to be Hpa-specific and six isolate Waco9-specific. Among 42 putative effectors identified there were three Elicitin-like proteins, 16 Cysteine-rich proteins and 18 host-translocated RXLR effectors. Sequencing of alleles in different Hpa isolates revealed that five RXLR genes show signatures of diversifying selection. Thus, EST analysis of Hpa-infected Arabidopsis is proving to be a powerful method for identifying pathogen effector candidates expressed during infection. Delivery of the Waco9-specific protein RXLR29 in planta revealed that this effector can suppress PAMP-triggered immunity and enhance disease susceptibility. We propose that differences in host colonization can be conditioned by isolate-specific effectors
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