Results - We used in silico approaches to predict and describe the repertoire of P. infestans secreted proteins (the secretome). We defined the "plastic secretome" as a subset of the genome that (i) encodes predicted secreted proteins, (ii) is excluded from genome segments orthologous to the P. sojae and P. ramorum genomes and (iii) is encoded by genes residing in gene sparse regions of P. infestans genome. Although including only ~3% of P. infestans genes, the plastic secretome contains ~62% of known effector genes and shows >2 fold enrichment in genes induced in planta. We highlight 19 plastic secretome genes induced in planta but distinct from previously described effectors. This list includes a trypsin-like serine protease, secreted oxidoreductases, small cysteine-rich proteins and repeat containing proteins that we propose to be novel candidate virulence factors.
Conclusions - This work revealed a remarkably diverse plastic secretome. It illustrates the value of combining genome architecture with comparative genomics to identify novel candidate virulence factors from pathogen genomes.