TAL effector-DNA specificity.
TAL effectors are important virulence factors of bacterial plant pathogenic Xanthomonas, which infect a wide variety of plants including valuable crops like pepper, rice, and citrus. TAL proteins are translocated via the bacterial type III secretion system into host cells and induce transcription of plant genes by binding to target gene promoters. Members of the TAL effector family differ mainly in their central domain of tandemly arranged repeats of typically 34 amino acids each with hypervariable di-amino acids at positions 12 and 13. We recently showed that target DNA-recognition specificity of TAL effectors is encoded in a modular and clearly predictable mode. The repeats of TAL effectors feature a surprising one repeat-to-one-bp correlation with different repeat types exhibiting a different DNA base pair specificity. Accordingly, we predicted DNA specificities of TAL effectors and generated artificial TAL proteins with novel DNA recognition specificities. We describe here novel artificial TALs and discuss implications for the DNA recognition specificity. The unique TAL-DNA binding domain allows design of proteins with potentially any given DNA recognition specificity enabling many uses for biotechnology.