[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Targeted genome engineering (also known as genome editing) has emerged as an alternative to classical plant breeding and transgenic (GMO) methods to improve crop plants. Until recently, available tools for introducing site-specific double strand DNA breaks were restricted to zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs) and TAL effector nucleases (TALENs). However, these technologies have not been widely adopted by the plant research community due to complicated design and laborious assembly of specific DNA binding proteins for each target gene. Recently, an easier method has emerged based on the bacterial type II CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats)/Cas (CRISPR-associated) immune system. The CRISPR/Cas system allows targeted cleavage of genomic DNA guided by a customizable small noncoding RNA, resulting in gene modifications by both non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) and homology-directed repair (HDR) mechanisms. In this review we summarize and discuss recent applications of the CRISPR/Cas technology in plants.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Every plant is closely associated with a variety of living organisms. Therefore, deciphering how plants interact with mutualistic and parasitic organisms is essential for a comprehensive understanding of the biology of plants. The field of plant-biotic interactions has recently coalesced around an integrated model. Major classes of molecular players both from plants and their associated organisms have been revealed. These include cell surface and intracellular immune receptors of plants as well as apoplastic and host-cell-translocated (cytoplasmic) effectors of the invading organism. This article focuses on effectors, molecules secreted by plant-associated organisms that alter plant processes. Effectors have emerged as a central class of molecules in our integrated view of plant-microbe interactions. Their study has significantly contributed to advancing our knowledge of plant hormones, plant development, plant receptors, and epigenetics. Many pathogen effectors are extraordinary examples of biological innovation; they include some of the most remarkable proteins known to function inside plant cells. Here, we review some of the key concepts that have emerged from the study of the effectors of plant-associated organisms. In particular, we focus on how effectors function in plant tissues and discuss future perspectives in the field of effector biology.
Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology 12/2012;
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The oomycete pathogen Phytophthora infestans causes potato late blight, one of the most economically damaging plant diseases worldwide. P. infestans produces AVR3a, an essential modular virulence effector with an N-terminal RXLR domain that is required for host-cell entry. In host cells, AVR3a stabilizes and inhibits the function of the E3 ubiquitin ligase CMPG1, a key factor in host immune responses including cell death triggered by the pathogen-derived elicitor protein INF1 elicitin. To elucidate the molecular basis of AVR3a effector function, we determined the structure of Phytophthora capsici AVR3a4, a close homolog of P. infestans AVR3a. Our structural and functional analyses reveal that the effector domain of AVR3a contains a conserved, positively charged patch and that this region, rather than the RXLR domain, is required for binding to phosphatidylinositol monophosphates (PIPs) in vitro. Mutations affecting PIP binding do not abolish AVR3a recognition by the resistance protein R3a but reduce its ability to suppress INF1-triggered cell death in planta. Similarly, stabilization of CMPG1 in planta is diminished by these mutations. The steady-state levels of non-PIP-binding mutant proteins in planta are reduced greatly, although these proteins are stable in vitro. Furthermore, overexpression of a phosphatidylinositol phosphate 5-kinase results in reduction of AVR3a levels in planta. Our results suggest that the PIP-binding ability of the AVR3a effector domain is essential for its accumulation inside host cells to suppress CMPG1-dependent immunity.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/2011; 108(35):14682-7. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The filamentous oomycete plant pathogen Phytophthora infestans causes late blight, an economically important disease, on members of the nightshade family (Solanaceae), such as the crop plants potato and tomato. The related plant Nicotiana benthamiana is a model system to study plant-pathogen interactions, and the susceptibility of N. benthamiana to Phytophthora species varies from susceptible to resistant. Little is known about the extent to which plant basal immunity, mediated by membrane receptors that recognise conserved pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs), contributes to P. infestans resistance.
We found that different species of Phytophthora have varying degrees of virulence on N. benthamiana ranging from avirulence (incompatible interaction) to moderate virulence through to full aggressiveness. The leucine-rich repeat receptor-like kinase (LRR-RLK) BAK1/SERK3 is a major modulator of PAMP-triggered immunity (PTI) in Arabidopsis thaliana and N. benthamiana. We cloned two NbSerk3 homologs, NbSerk3A and NbSerk3B, from N. benthamiana based on sequence similarity to the A. thaliana gene. N. benthamiana plants silenced for NbSerk3 showed markedly enhanced susceptibility to P. infestans infection but were not altered in resistance to Phytophthora mirabilis, a sister species of P. infestans that specializes on a different host plant. Furthermore, silencing of NbSerk3 reduced the cell death response triggered by the INF1, a secreted P. infestans protein with features of PAMPs.
We demonstrated that N. benthamiana NbSERK3 significantly contributes to resistance to P. infestans and regulates the immune responses triggered by the P. infestans PAMP protein INF1. In the future, the identification of novel surface receptors that associate with NbSERK3A and/or NbSERK3B should lead to the identification of new receptors that mediate recognition of oomycete PAMPs, such as INF1.
PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(1):e16608. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Olfaction and some forms of taste (including bitter) are mediated by G protein-coupled signal transduction pathways. Olfactory and gustatory ligands bind to chemosensory G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) in specialized sensory cells to activate intracellular signal transduction cascades. G protein-coupled receptor kinases (GRKs) are negative regulators of signaling that specifically phosphorylate activated GPCRs to terminate signaling. Although loss of GRK function usually results in enhanced cellular signaling, Caenorhabditis elegans lacking GRK-2 function are not hypersensitive to chemosensory stimuli. Instead, grk-2 mutant animals do not chemotax toward attractive olfactory stimuli or avoid aversive tastes and smells. We show here that loss-of-function mutations in the transient receptor potential vanilloid (TRPV) channels OSM-9 and OCR-2 selectively restore grk-2 behavioral avoidance of bitter tastants, revealing modality-specific mechanisms for TRPV channel function in the regulation of C. elegans chemosensation. Additionally, a single amino acid point mutation in OCR-2 that disrupts TRPV channel-mediated gene expression, but does not decrease channel function in chemosensory primary signal transduction, also restores grk-2 bitter taste avoidance. Thus, loss of GRK-2 function may lead to changes in gene expression, via OSM-9/OCR-2, to selectively alter the levels of signaling components that transduce or regulate bitter taste responses. Our results suggest a novel mechanism and multiple modality-specific pathways that sensory cells employ in response to aberrant signal transduction.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Long considered intractable organisms by fungal genetic research standards, the oomycetes have recently moved to the centre stage of research on plant-microbe interactions. Recent work on oomycete effector evolution, trafficking and function has led to major conceptual advances in the science of plant pathology. In this review, we provide a historical perspective on oomycete genetic research and summarize the state of the art in effector biology of plant pathogenic oomycetes by describing what we consider to be the 10 most important concepts about oomycete effectors.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The AVR3a protein of Phytophthora infestans is a polymorphic member of the RXLR class of cytoplasmic effectors with dual functions. AVR3a(KI) but not AVR3a(EM) activates innate immunity triggered by the potato resistance protein R3a and is a strong suppressor of the cell-death response induced by INF1 elicitin, a secreted P. infestans protein that has features of pathogen-associated molecular patterns. To gain insights into the molecular basis of AVR3a activities, we performed structure-function analyses of both AVR3a forms. We utilized saturated high-throughput mutant screens to identify amino acids important for R3a activation. Of 6,500 AVR3a(EM) clones tested, we identified 136 AVR3a(EM) mutant clones that gained the ability to induce R3a hypersensitivity. Fifteen amino-acid sites were affected in this set of mutant clones. Most of these mutants did not suppress cell death at a level similar to that of AVR3a(KI). A similar loss-of-function screen of 4,500 AVR3a(KI) clones identified only 13 mutants with altered activity. These results point to models in which AVR3a functions by interacting with one or more host proteins and are not consistent with the recognition of AVR3a through an enzymatic activity. The identification of mutants that gain R3a activation but not cell-death suppression activity suggests that distinct amino acids condition the two AVR3a effector activities.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Oomycete plant pathogens deliver effector proteins inside host cells to modulate plant defense circuitry and to enable parasitic colonization. These effectors are defined by a conserved motif, termed RXLR (for Arg, any amino acid, Leu, Arg), that is located downstream of the signal peptide and that has been implicated in host translocation. Because the phenotypes of RXLR effectors extend to plant cells, their genes are expected to be the direct target of the evolutionary forces that drive the antagonistic interplay between pathogen and host. We used the draft genome sequences of three oomycete plant pathogens, Phytophthora sojae, Phytophthora ramorum, and Hyaloperonospora parasitica, to generate genome-wide catalogs of RXLR effector genes and determine the extent to which these genes are under positive selection. These analyses revealed that the RXLR sequence is overrepresented and positionally constrained in the secretome of Phytophthora relative to other eukaryotes. The three examined plant pathogenic oomycetes carry complex and diverse sets of RXLR effector genes that have undergone relatively rapid birth and death evolution. We obtained robust evidence of positive selection in more than two-thirds of the examined paralog families of RXLR effectors. Positive selection has acted for the most part on the C-terminal region, consistent with the view that RXLR effectors are modular, with the N terminus involved in secretion and host translocation and the C-terminal domain dedicated to modulating host defenses inside plant cells.
The Plant Cell 09/2007; 19(8):2349-69. · 9.25 Impact Factor