Erysiphe necator, commonly known as grape powdery mildew, is an obligately biotophic fungus that devastates the grape crops worldwide. Little is known as to how the fungus circumvents a plant’s basal defense, but it is believed that small effector proteins are secreted by fungal haustoria (feeding structures) into the cytoplasm of plant epidermal cells. Thus, the effector proteins and the host processes with which they interact likely determine whether powdery mildew infects successfully or not. The goal of this study was to use bioinformatics tools to identify candidate effector proteins that are specific to haustoria. A de novo reference transcriptome was assembled from epiphytic tissues of E. necator. Alignment of RNA-Seq reads from infected leaves to reference genomes of the Vitis vinifera host and E. necator pathogen along with the epiphytic transcriptome enabled the identification of 102 candidate effector proteins. A majority of these proteins, specifically expressed in the haustoria, were homologous to known effectors, particularly EKA effectors. This novel approach enables us to study the expression, translocation, and function of haustoria-specific effectors, to better understand the mechanistic basis of disease.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Grape powdery mildew disease--Genetics

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Bioinformatics (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences (COS)


Gary Skuse

Advisor/Committee Member

Michael Osier

Advisor/Committee Member

Lance Cadle-Davidson


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at SB608lG7 B37 2015


RIT – Main Campus

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