The ubiquitin E3 ligase PUB17 positively regulates immunity by targeting a negative regulator, KH17, for degradation

Hazel McLellan, Kai Chen, Qin He, Xintong Wu, Petra C. Boevink, Zhendong Tian (Lead / Corresponding author), Paul Birch (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Ubiquitination is a post-translational modification which regulates many processes in plants. Several ubiquitin E3 ligases act as either positive or negative regulators of immunity by promoting the degradation of different substrates. StPUB17 is an E3 ligase which has previously been shown to positively regulate immunity to bacteria, fungi and oomycetes, including the late blight pathogen Phytophthora infestans. Silencing of StPUB17 promotes pathogen colonisation and attenuates Cf4/avr4 cell death. Using yeast-2-hybrid and co-immunoprecipitation we identified the putative K-homology (KH) RNA binding protein (RBP), StKH17, as a candidate substrate for degradation by StPUB17. StKH17 acts as a negative regulator of immunity which promotes P. infestans infection and suppresses specific immune pathways. A KH RBP domain mutant of StKH17 (StKH17GDDG) is no longer able to negatively regulate immunity, indicating that RNA binding is likely required for StKH17 function. As StPUB17 is a known target of the ubiquitin E3 ligase, StPOB1, we reveal an additional step in an E3 ligase regulatory cascade that controls plant defence.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPlant Communications
Early online date7 Jan 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Jan 2020



  • oomycete
  • plant disease
  • late blight
  • E3 ligase
  • KH RNA binding protein

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