Pathogens use effector proteins to suppress host immunity and promote infection. However, plants can recognize specific effectors and mount an effector-triggered immune response that suppresses pathogen growth. The YopJ/HopZ family of type III secreted effector proteins is broadly distributed in bacterial pathogens of both animals and plants. These effectors can either suppress host immunity or elicit defense responses depending on the host genotype. In a recent report, we identified an Arabidopsis thaliana pseudokinase ZED1 that is required for the recognition of the Pseudomonas syringae HopZ1a effector. Here we discuss the role of ZED1 in HopZ1a recognition, and present models of effector recognition in plants. We draw parallels between HopZ1a and YopJ effector proteins, and between ZED1 and other immunity-related kinases that can be targeted by pathogen effectors.
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