4 years ago

Small secreted proteins from the necrotrophic conifer pathogen Heterobasidion annosum s.l. (HaSSPs) induce cell death in Nicotiana benthamiana

Tommaso Raffaello, Fred O. Asiegbu
The basidiomycete Heterobasidion annosum sensu lato (s.l.) is considered to be one of the most destructive conifer pathogens in the temperate forests of the northern hemisphere. H. annosum is characterized by a dual fungal lifestyle. The fungus grows necrotrophically on living plant cells and saprotrophically on dead wood material. In this study, we screened the H. annosum genome for small secreted proteins (HaSSPs) that could potentially be involved in promoting necrotrophic growth during the fungal infection process. The final list included 58 HaSSPs that lacked predictable protein domains. The transient expression of HaSSP encoding genes revealed the ability of 8 HaSSPs to induce cell chlorosis and cell death in Nicotiana benthamiana. In particular, one protein (HaSSP30) could induce a rapid, strong, and consistent cell death within 2 days post-infiltration. HaSSP30 also increased the transcription of host-defence-related genes in N. benthamiana, which suggested a necrotrophic-specific immune response. This is the first line of evidence demonstrating that the H. annosum genome encodes HaSSPs with the capability to induce plant cell death in a non-host plant.

Publisher URL: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-08010-0

DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-08010-0

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