TAL effectors are proteins secreted by Xanthomonas bacteria via their type III secretion system when they infect various plant species. These proteins can bind promoter sequences in the host plant and activate the expression of plant genes that aid bacterial infection. They recognize plant DNA sequences through a central repeat domain consisting of a variable number of ~34 amino acid repeats. There appears to be a one-to-one correspondence between the identity of two critical amino acids in each repeat and each DNA base in the target sequence. These proteins are interesting to researchers both for their role in disease of important crop species and the relative ease of retargeting them to bind new DNA sequences. Similar proteins can be found in the pathogenic bacterium Ralstonia solanacearum and Burkholderia rhizoxinica, as well as yet unidentified marine microorganisms. The term TALE-likes is used to refer to the putative protein family encompassing the TALEs and these related proteins.