Degradation of the plant defence hormone salicylic acid by the biotrophic fungusUstilago maydis

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Salicylic acid (SA) is a key plant defence hormone which plays an important role in local and systemic defence responses against biotrophic pathogens like the smut fungusUstilago maydis. Here we identified Shy1, a cytoplasmicU. maydissalicylate hydroxylase which has orthologues in the closely related smutsUstilago hordeiandSporisorium reilianum.shy1is transcriptionally induced during the biotrophic stages of development but not required for virulence during seedling infection.Shy1activity is needed for growth on plates with SA as a sole carbon source. The trigger forshy1transcriptional induction is SA, suggesting the possibility of a SA sensing mechanism in this fungus.

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