Tarek Hewezi

University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

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Publications (41)201.54 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Heterodera glycines, the soybean cyst nematode, is the number one pathogen of soybean (Glycine max). This nematode infects soybean roots and forms an elaborate feeding site in the vascular cylinder. H. glycines produces an arsenal of effector proteins in the secretory esophageal gland cells. More than sixty H. glycines candidate effectors were identified in previous gland cell-mining projects. However, it is likely that additional candidate effectors remained unidentified. With the goal of identifying remaining H. glycines candidate effectors, we constructed and sequenced a large gland cell cDNA library resulting in 11,814 ESTs. After bioinformatic filtering for candidate effectors using a number of criteria, in situ hybridizations were performed in H. glycines whole mount specimens to identify candidate effectors whose mRNA exclusively accumulated in the esophageal gland cells, which is a hallmark of many nematode effectors. This approach resulted in the identification of eighteen new H. glycines esophageal gland cell-specific candidate effectors. Of these candidate effectors, eleven sequences were pioneers without similarities to known proteins while seven sequences had similarities to functionally annotated proteins in databases. These putative homologies provided the bases for the development of hypotheses about potential functions in the parasitism process.
    Phytopathology 04/2015; DOI:10.1094/PHYTO-02-15-0049-R · 2.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Plant-parasitic cyst nematodes synthesize and secrete effector proteins that are essential for parasitism. One such protein is the 10A07 effector from the sugar beet cyst nematode, Heterodera schachtii, which is exclusively expressed in the nematode dorsal gland cell during all nematode parasitic stages. Overexpression of H. schachtii 10A07 in Arabidopsis thaliana produced a hypersusceptible phenotype in response to H. schachtii infection along with developmental changes reminiscent of auxin effects. The 10A07 protein physically associates with a plant kinase and the IAA16 transcription factor in the cytoplasm and nucleus, respectively. The interacting plant kinase (IPK) phosphorylates 10A07 at Ser-144 and Ser-231 and mediates its trafficking from the cytoplasm to the nucleus. Translocation to the nucleus is phosphorylation dependent since substitution of Ser-144 and Ser-231 by alanine resulted in exclusive cytoplasmic accumulation of 10A07. IPK and IAA16 are highly upregulated in the nematode-induced syncytium (feeding cells), and deliberate manipulations of their expression significantly alter plant susceptibility to H. schachtii in an additive fashion. An inactive variant of IPK functioned antagonistically to the wild-type IPK and caused a dominant-negative phenotype of reduced plant susceptibility. Thus, exploitation of host processes to the advantage of the parasites is one mechanism by which cyst nematodes promote parasitism of host plants. © 2015 American Society of Plant Biologists. All rights reserved.
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    ABSTRACT: The protein kinase (PK) gene family is one of the largest and most highly conserved gene families in plants and plays a role in nearly all biological functions. While a large number of genes have been predicted to encode PKs in soybean, a comprehensive functional classification and global analysis of expression patterns of this large gene family is lacking. In this study, we identified the entire soybean PK repertoire or kinome, which comprised 2166 putative PK genes, representing 4.67% of all soybean protein-coding genes. The soybean kinome was classified into 19 groups, 81 families, and 122 subfamilies. The receptor-like kinase (RLK) group was remarkably large, containing 1418 genes. Collinearity analysis indicated that whole-genome segmental duplication events may have played a key role in the expansion of the soybean kinome, whereas tandem duplications might have contributed to the expansion of specific subfamilies. Gene structure, subcellular localization prediction, and gene expression patterns indicated extensive functional divergence of PK subfamilies. Global gene expression analysis of soybean PK subfamilies revealed tissue- and stress-specific expression patterns, implying regulatory functions over a wide range of developmental and physiological processes. In addition, tissue and stress co-expression network analysis uncovered specific subfamilies with narrow or wide interconnected relationships, indicative of their association with particular or broad signalling pathways, respectively. Taken together, our analyses provide a foundation for further functional studies to reveal the biological and molecular functions of PKs in soybean. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology.
    Journal of Experimental Botany 01/2015; DOI:10.1093/jxb/eru537 · 5.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The phytohormone auxin regulates nearly all aspects of plant growth and development. Based on the current model in Arabidopsis thaliana, Auxin/indole-3-acetic acid (Aux/IAA) proteins repress auxin-inducible genes by inhibiting auxin response transcription factors (ARFs). Experimental evidence suggests that heterodimerization between Aux/IAA and ARF proteins are related to their unique biological functions. The objective of this study was to generate the Aux/IAA-ARF protein-protein interaction map using full length sequences and locate the interacting protein pairs to specific gene co-expression networks in order to define tissue-specific responses of the Aux/IAA-ARF interactome. Pairwise interactions between 19 ARFs and 29 Aux/IAAs resulted in the identification of 213 specific interactions of which 79 interactions were previously unknown. The incorporation of co-expression profiles with protein-protein interaction data revealed a strong correlation of gene co-expression for 70% of the ARF-Aux/IAA interacting pairs in at least one tissue/organ, indicative of the biological significance of these interactions. Importantly, ARF4-8 and 19, which were found to interact with almost all Aux-Aux/IAA showed broad co-expression relationships with Aux/IAA genes, thus, formed the central hubs of the co-expression network. Our analyses provide new insights into the biological significance of ARF-Aux/IAA associations in the morphogenesis and development of various plant tissues and organs.
    Frontiers in Plant Science 12/2014; 5:744. DOI:10.3389/fpls.2014.00744 · 3.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT Sedentary plant-parasitic nematodes engage in complex interactions with their host plants by secreting effector proteins. Some effectors of both root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.) and cyst nematodes (Heterodera and Globodera spp.) mimic plant ligand proteins. Most prominently, cyst nematodes secrete effectors that mimic plant CLAVATA3/ESR-related (CLE) ligand proteins. However, only cyst nematodes have been shown to secrete such effectors and to utilize CLE ligand mimicry in their interactions with host plants. Here, we document the presence of ligand-like motifs in bona fide root-knot nematode effectors that are most similar to CLE peptides from plants and cyst nematodes. We have identified multiple tandem CLE-like motifs conserved within the previously identified Meloidogyne avirulence protein (MAP) family that are secreted from root-knot nematodes and have been shown to function in planta. By searching all 12 MAP family members from multiple Meloidogyne spp., we identified 43 repetitive CLE-like motifs composing 14 unique variants. At least one CLE-like motif was conserved in each MAP family member. Furthermore, we documented the presence of other conserved sequences that resemble the variable domains described in Heterodera and Globodera CLE effectors. These findings document that root-knot nematodes appear to use CLE ligand mimicry and point toward a common host node targeted by two evolutionarily diverse groups of nematodes. As a consequence, it is likely that CLE signaling pathways are important in other phytonematode pathosystems as well.
    Phytopathology 08/2014; 104(8):879-885. DOI:10.1094/PHYTO-11-13-0326-R · 2.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Meloidogyne incognita is one of the most economically damaging plant pathogens in agriculture and horticulture. Identifying and characterizing the effector proteins, which M. incognita secretes into its host plants during infection, is an important step towards finding new ways to manage this pest. In this study we have identified the cDNAs for 18 putative effectors, i.e., proteins that have the potential to facilitate M. incognita parasitism of host plants. These putative effectors are secretory proteins that do not contain transmembrane domains and whose genes are specifically expressed in the secretory gland cells of the nematode, indicating that they are likely secreted from the nematode through its stylet. We have determined that in the plant cells, these putative effectors are likely to localize to cytoplasm. Furthermore, the transcripts of many of these novel effectors are specifically up regulated during different stages of the nematode's life cycle, indicating that they function at specific stages during M. incognita parasitism. The predicted proteins showed little to no homology to known proteins from free-living nematode species, suggesting that they evolved recently to support the parasitic lifestyle. On the other hand, several of the effectors are part of gene families within the M. incognita genome as well as that of Meloidogyne hapla, which points to an important role that these putative effectors are playing in both parasites. With the discovery of these putative effectors we have increased our knowledge of the effector repertoire utilized by root-knot nematodes to infect, feed, and reproduce on their host plants. Future studies investigating the roles these proteins play in planta will help mitigate the effects of this damaging pest.
    Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 05/2014; DOI:10.1094/MPMI-03-14-0076-R · 4.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Growth regulating factors (GRFs) are a conserved class of transcription factor in seed plants. GRFs are involved in various aspects of tissue differentiation and organ development. The implication of GRFs in biotic stress response has also been recently reported, suggesting a role of these transcription factors in coordinating the interaction between developmental processes and defense dynamics. However, the molecular mechanisms by which GRFs mediate the overlaps between defense signaling and developmental pathways are elusive. Here, we report large scale identification of putative target candidates of Arabidopsis GRF1 and GRF3 by comparing mRNA profiles of the grf1/grf2/grf3 triple mutant and those of the transgenic plants overexpressing miR396-resistant version of GRF1 or GRF3. We identified 1,098 and 600 genes as putative targets of GRF1 and GRF3, respectively. Functional classification of the potential target candidates revealed that GRF1 and GRF3 contribute to the regulation of various biological processes associated with defense response and disease resistance. GRF1 and GRF3 participate specifically in the regulation of defense-related transcription factors, cell-wall modifications, cytokinin biosynthesis and signaling, and secondary metabolites accumulation. GRF1 and GRF3 seem to fine-tune the crosstalk between miRNA signaling networks by regulating the expression of several miRNA target genes. In addition, our data suggest that GRF1 and GRF3 may function as negative regulators of gene expression through their association with other transcription factors. Collectively, our data provide new insights into how GRF1 and GRF3 might coordinate the interactions between defense signaling and plant growth and developmental pathways.
    PLoS ONE 05/2014; 9(5):e98477. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0098477 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Plant-parasitic cyst nematodes induce the formation of multinucleated feeding site in the infected roots, termed syncytium. Recent studies pointed to key roles of the phytohormone auxin in the regulation of gene expression and establishment of the syncytium. Nevertheless, information about the spatiotemporal expression patterns of the transcription factors that mediate auxin transcriptional responses during syncytium formation is limited. Here, we provide a gene expression map of 22 auxin response factors (ARFs) during initiation, formation and maintenance stages of the syncytium induced by the cyst nematode Heterodera schachtii in Arabidopsis. We observed distinct and overlapping expression patterns of ARFs throughout syncytium development phases. We identified a set of ARFs whose expression is predominantly located inside the developing syncytium, while others are expressed in the neighboring cells, presumably to initiate specific transcriptional programs required for their incorporation with the developing syncytium. Our analyses also point to a role of certain ARFs in determining the maximum size of the syncytium. In addition, several ARFs were found to be highly expressed in fully-developed syncytia, suggesting a role in maintaining the functional phenotype of mature syncytia. The dynamic distribution and overlapping expression patterns of various ARFs seem to be essential characteristics of ARF activity during syncytium development.
    Molecular Plant Pathology 01/2014; 15(7). DOI:10.1111/mpp.12121 · 4.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Nematode effector proteins originating from the esophageal gland cells play central roles in suppressing plant defenses and in the formation of the plant feeding cells required for growth and development of cyst nematodes. A gene (GrUBCEP12) encoding a unique ubiquitin carboxyl extension protein (UBCEP) that consists of a signal peptide (SP) for secretion, a monoubiquitin domain, and a 12-amino acid carboxyl extension protein (CEP12) domain was cloned from the potato cyst nematode Globodera rostochiensis. This GrUBCEP12 gene was expressed exclusively within the nematode's dorsal esophageal gland cell and was upregulated in the parasitic second-stage juvenile correlating to the time when feeding cell formation is initiated. We showed that specific GrUBCEP12 knockdown via RNA interference reduced nematode parasitic success and that overexpression of the secreted Gr(ΔSP) UBCEP12 protein in potato resulted in increased nematode susceptibility, providing direct evidence that this secreted effector is involved in plant parasitism. Using transient expression assays in Nicotiana benthamiana, we discovered that Gr(ΔSP) UBCEP12 was processed into free ubiquitin and a CEP12 peptide (GrCEP12) in planta and that GrCEP12 could suppress resistance gene-mediated cell death. A target search showed that RPN2a, a gene encoding a subunit of the 26S proteasome was dramatically suppressed in Gr(ΔSP) UBCEP12 but not GrCEP12 overexpression plants when compared with control plants. Together, these results suggest that when delivered into host plant cells, Gr(ΔSP) UBCEP12 becomes two functional units, one acting to suppress plant immunity and the other potentially affecting the host 26S proteasome, to promote feeding cell formation. Published 2013. This article is a US Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.
    The Plant Journal 01/2013; DOI:10.1111/tpj.12125 · 6.82 Impact Factor
  • Root Genomics and Soil Interactions, Edited by M. Crespi, 10/2012: chapter 10; Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK.., ISBN: 9780470960431
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    ABSTRACT: Esophageal glands of plant-parasitic nematodes are highly specialized cells whose gene expression products include secreted effector proteins, which govern nematode parasitism of host plants. Elucidating the transcriptomes of esophageal glands with the goal of identifying nematode effectors, therefore, is a promising avenue to understanding nematode parasitism and its evolutionary origins as well as to devising nematode control strategies. We have developed a method to separate and isolate individual esophageal gland cells from multiple species of plant-parasitic nematodes while preserving RNA quality. We have used such isolated gland cells for transcriptome analysis via high throughput DNA sequencing. This method relies on the differential histochemical staining of the gland cells after homogenization of phytonematode tissues. Total RNA was extracted from whole gland cells isolated from eight different plant-parasitic nematode species. To validate this approach, the isolated RNA from three plant-parasitic nematode species, Globodera rostochiensis, Pratylenchus penetrans and Radopholus similis, was amplified, gel purified and used for 454 sequencing. We obtained 456,801 total reads with an average read length of 409 bases. Sequence analyses revealed the presence of homologs of previously known nematode effectors in these libraries thus validating our approach. These data provide compelling evidence that this technical advance can be used to relatively easily and expediently discover effector repertoires of plant-parasitic nematodes.
    Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 08/2012; DOI:10.1094/MPMI-05-12-0121-FI · 4.46 Impact Factor
  • Tarek Hewezi, Thomas J. Baum
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    ABSTRACT: A key feature of sedentary plant-parasitic nematodes is the release of effector proteins from their esophageal gland cells through their stylets into host roots. These proteinaceous stylet secretions have been shown to be crucial for successful parasitism by mediating the transition of normal root cells into specialized feeding sites and by negating plant defenses. Recent technical advances of purifying mRNA from esophageal gland cells of plant-parasitic nematodes coupled with emerging sequencing technologies is steadily expanding our knowledge of nematode effector repertoires. Host targets and biological activities of a number of nematode effectors are continuously being reported, and by now a first picture of the complexity of sedentary nematode parasitism at the molecular level is starting to take shape. In this review, we highlight effector mechanisms that recently have been uncovered by studying the host-pathogen interactome. These mechanisms range from mediating susceptibility of host plants to the actual triggering of defense responses. In particular, we portray and discuss the mechanisms by which nematode effectors modify plant cell walls, negate host defense responses, alter auxin and polyamine signaling, mimic plant molecules, regulate stress signaling and activate hypersensitive responses. Continuous molecular characterization of newly discovered nematode effectors will be needed to determine how these effectors orchestrate host signaling pathways and biological processes leading to successful parasitism.
    Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 07/2012; DOI:10.1094/MPMI-05-12-0106-FI · 4.46 Impact Factor
  • Tarek Hewezi, Thomas J Baum
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    ABSTRACT: The beet cyst nematode, Heterodera schachtii, is a sedentary root parasite that induces the formation of a specialized root feeding structure, the syncytium. We previously have shown that coordinated regulation of miR396 and its target genes GRF1 and GRF3 in the syncytium is required for proper formation. To gain a better understanding of this coordinated regulation, we used quantitative real-time PCR to assess the abundance of primary (pri)-miRNA396a, pri-miRNA396b and mature miRNA396 in transgenic Arabidopsis plants overexpressing either wild-type variants of the GRF1 or GRF3 coding sequences or miR396-resistant variants. We also included a grf1/grf2/grf3 triple mutant in these analyses. We observed significant decreases in the abundance of pri-miRNA396a, pri-miRNA396b and mature miR396 in the transgenic plants overexpressing GRF1 or GRF3, particularly with the miRNA396-resistant variants. In contrast, the primary transcripts and mature miRNA396 abundance were significantly increased in the grf1/grf2/grf3 triple knockout mutant. These results demonstrate that homeostasis between miR396 and the target genes GRF1 and GRF3 is established through reciprocal feedback regulation, in which GRF1/GRF3 and miR396 negatively regulate each other's expression. In addition, we found that constitutive expression of GRF1 or GRF3 decreases the mRNA abundance of other GRFs, even those that are not targeted by miR396, as well as their own endogenous transcripts, which documents further regulatory facets of this equilibrium.
    Plant signaling & behavior 07/2012; 7(7):749-51. DOI:10.4161/psb.20420
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    ABSTRACT: Virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) is a powerful reverse genetics tool in plant science. In this study, we investigated the temporal and spatial silencing patterns achieved by Bean pod mottle virus (BPMV)-based VIGS in soybean using virus constructs targeting green fluorescence protein (GFP). Silencing GFP enabled an in-depth analysis of silencing in soybean tissues over time in a transgenic line constitutively expressing GFP. We discovered evidence for variable GFP silencing based on insert orientation and targeted region in the coding sequence. A 3' sequence in reverse orientation produced the strongest silencing phenotypes. Furthermore, we documented that BPMV VIGS can achieve widespread silencing in a broad range of tissues, including leaves, stems, flowers and roots. Near-complete silencing was attained in leaves and flowers. Although weaker than in shoots, the observed gene silencing in soybean roots will also allow reverse genetics studies in this tissue. When GFP fluorescence was assayed in cross-sections of stems and leaf petioles, near-complete and uniform silencing was observed in all cell types. Silencing was observed from as early as 2 weeks post-virus inoculation in leaves to 7 weeks post-virus inoculation in flowers, suggesting that this system can induce and maintain silencing for significant durations.
    Molecular Plant Pathology 06/2012; 13(9):1140-8. DOI:10.1111/j.1364-3703.2012.00808.x · 4.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Phytoparasitic nematodes secrete an array of effector proteins to modify selected recipient plant cells into elaborate and essential feeding sites. The biological function of the novel 30C02 effector protein of the soybean cyst nematode, Heterodera glycines, was studied using Arabidopsis thaliana as host and the beet cyst nematode, Heterodera schachtii, which contains a homologue of the 30C02 gene. Expression of Hg30C02 in Arabidopsis did not affect plant growth and development but increased plant susceptibility to infection by H. schachtii. The 30C02 protein interacted with a specific (AT4G16260) host plant β-1,3-endoglucanase in both yeast and plant cells, possibly to interfere with its role as a plant pathogenesis-related protein. Interestingly, the peak expression of 30C02 in the nematode and peak expression of At4g16260 in plant roots coincided at around 3-5 d after root infection by the nematode, after which the relative expression of At4g16260 declined significantly. An Arabidopsis At4g16260 T-DNA mutant showed increased susceptibility to cyst nematode infection, and plants that overexpressed At4g16260 were reduced in nematode susceptibility, suggesting a potential role of host β-1,3-endoglucanase in the defence response against H. schachtii infection. Arabidopsis plants that expressed dsRNA and its processed small interfering RNA complementary to the Hg30C02 sequence were not phenotypically different from non-transformed plants, but they exhibited a strong RNA interference-mediated resistance to infection by H. schachtii. The collective results suggest that, as with other pathogens, active suppression of host defence is a critical component for successful parasitism by nematodes and a vulnerable target to disrupt the parasitic cycle.
    Journal of Experimental Botany 03/2012; 63(10):3683-95. DOI:10.1093/jxb/ers058 · 5.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The syncytium is a unique plant root organ whose differentiation is induced by plant-parasitic cyst nematodes to create a source of nourishment. Syncytium formation involves the redifferentiation and fusion of hundreds of root cells. The underlying regulatory networks that control this unique change of plant cell fate are not understood. Here, we report that a strong down-regulation of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) microRNA396 (miR396) in cells giving rise to the syncytium coincides with the initiation of the syncytial induction/formation phase and that specific miR396 up-regulation in the developed syncytium marks the beginning of the maintenance phase, when no new cells are incorporated into the syncytium. In addition, our results show that miR396 in fact has a role in the transition from one phase to the other. Expression modulations of miR396 and its Growth-Regulating Factor (GRF) target genes resulted in reduced syncytium size and arrested nematode development. Furthermore, genome-wide expression profiling revealed that the miR396-GRF regulatory system can alter the expression of 44% of the more than 7,000 genes reported to change expression in the Arabidopsis syncytium. Thus, miR396 represents a key regulator for the reprogramming of root cells. As such, this regulatory unit represents a powerful molecular target for the parasitic animal to modulate plant cells and force them into novel developmental pathways.
    Plant physiology 03/2012; 159(1):321-35. DOI:10.1104/pp.112.193649 · 7.39 Impact Factor
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    Jing Jin, Tarek Hewezi, Thomas J Baum
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    ABSTRACT: Cyst nematodes establish and maintain feeding sites (syncytia) in the roots of host plants by altering expression of host genes. Among these genes are members of the large gene family of class III peroxidases, which have reported functions in a variety of biological processes. In this study, we used Arabidopsis-Heterodera schachtii as a model system to functionally characterize peroxidase 53 (AtPRX53). Promoter assays showed that under non-infected conditions AtPRX53 is expressed mainly in the root, the hypocotyl and the base of the pistil. Under infected conditions, the AtPRX53 promoter showed upregulation at the nematode penetration sites and in their migration paths. Interestingly, strong GUS activity was observed in H. schachtii-induced syncytia during the early stage of infection and remained strong in the syncytia of third-stage juveniles. Also, AtPRX53 showed upregulation in response to wounding and jasmonic acid treatments. Manipulation of AtPRX53 expression through overexpression and knockout mutation affected both plant morphology and nematode susceptibility. While AtPRX53 overexpression lines exhibited short hypocotyls, aberrant flower development and reduced nematode susceptibility to H. schachtii, the atprx53 mutant showed long hypocotyls and a 3-carpel silique phenotype as well as a non significant increase of nematode susceptibility. Taken together these data, therefore, indicate diverse roles of AtPRX53 in the wound response, flower development and syncytium formation.
    Plant signaling & behavior 11/2011; 6(11):1778-86. DOI:10.4161/psb.6.11.17684
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    ABSTRACT: Plant-parasitic cyst nematodes penetrate plant roots and transform cells near the vasculature into specialized feeding sites called syncytia. Syncytia form by incorporating neighboring cells into a single fused cell by cell wall dissolution. This process is initiated via injection of esophageal gland cell effector proteins from the nematode stylet into the host cell. Once inside the cell, these proteins may interact with host proteins that regulate the phytohormone auxin, as cellular concentrations of auxin increase in developing syncytia. Soybean cyst nematode (Heterodera glycines) Hg19C07 is a novel effector protein expressed specifically in the dorsal gland cell during nematode parasitism. Here, we describe its ortholog in the beet cyst nematode (Heterodera schachtii), Hs19C07. We demonstrate that Hs19C07 interacts with the Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) auxin influx transporter LAX3. LAX3 is expressed in cells overlying lateral root primordia, providing auxin signaling that triggers the expression of cell wall-modifying enzymes, allowing lateral roots to emerge. We found that LAX3 and polygalacturonase, a LAX3-induced cell wall-modifying enzyme, are expressed in the developing syncytium and in cells to be incorporated into the syncytium. We observed no decrease in H. schachtii infectivity in aux1 and lax3 single mutants. However, a decrease was observed in both the aux1lax3 double mutant and the aux1lax1lax2lax3 quadruple mutant. In addition, ectopic expression of 19C07 was found to speed up lateral root emergence. We propose that Hs19C07 most likely increases LAX3-mediated auxin influx and may provide a mechanism for cyst nematodes to modulate auxin flow into root cells, stimulating cell wall hydrolysis for syncytium development.
    Plant physiology 02/2011; 155(2):866-80. DOI:10.1104/pp.110.167197 · 7.39 Impact Factor
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    Jing Jin, Tarek Hewezi, Thomas J Baum
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    ABSTRACT: Successful cyst nematode parasitism depends on the formation and maintenance of feeding sites (syncytia) in host roots, and these processes are highly regulated by the interaction between the cyst nematode and the host. Using an integrated research approach and the Arabidopsis-Beta vulgaris (sugar beet) cyst nematode (Heterodera schachtii) pathosystem, we have determined that the two Arabidopsis basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors bHLH25 and bHLH27 positively influence cyst nematode parasitism. Promoter studies indicated that as early as 1 day post-inoculation, both transcription factor genes were upregulated in developing syncytia, whereas in non-infected plants, these two promoters were not found to be active in the same cells. By using yeast two-hybrid analyses and bimolecular fluorescence complementation assays, we documented that the two bHLH transcription factors can dimerize in planta. Transgenic Arabidopsis plants overexpressing either one or both of the bHLH genes exhibited altered morphology of roots and shoots, as well as an increased susceptibility to H. schachtii. bhlh25 or bhlh27 single mutants were without strong phenotypes, presumably because of functional redundancies in this gene family. However, the bhlh25 bhlh27 double mutant was less susceptible to H. schachtii, confirming an important conducive role of the co-expression of both transcription factor genes for cyst nematode parasitism. Our results document an example of pathogen-induced ectopic co-expression of two regulatory genes to enhance pathogen success, although these transcription factors apparently do not function in concert in non-infected plants. This is an intriguing biological phenomenon that highlights the complexity of obligate biotrophic plant-pathogen interactions, like those of cyst nematodes.
    The Plant Journal 01/2011; 65(2):319-28. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-313X.2010.04424.x · 6.82 Impact Factor
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    Tarek Hewezi, Thomas J Baum
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    ABSTRACT: The soybean cyst nematode (Heterodera glycines) and the closely related sugar beet cyst nematode (Heterodera schachtii) are devastating pathogens of plant roots that use secreted effector proteins to engage in sophisticated host-parasite interactions. While H. schachtii infects and reproduces readily on the roots of Arabidopsis thaliana, H. glycines rarely is able to infect this model plant. The molecular basis for differing host ranges remains obscure but likely involves differences between nematode effector proteins and the recognition of host factors. Recently we reported that constitutive expression of the H. schachtii 10A06 effector protein gene (Hs-10A06) in Arabidopsis affected plant morphology and increased susceptibility to H. schachtii and that the 10A06 protein functions through its interaction with Arabidopsis spermidine synthase 2 (SPDS2). Therefore, we investigated whether differences between cyst nematode effector protein orthologs in two nematode species have a role in mediating host specificity. Here, we show that, similar to Hs-10A06, ectopic expression of H. glycines 10A06 (Hg-10A06) in Arabidopsis affected leaf number and root length, however, to a much lesser extent. More importantly, no effect of Hg-10A06 overexpression on Arabidopsis susceptibility to H. schachtii was observed. While we found that Hg-10A06 can weakly interact with Arabidopsis SPDS2 in yeast-two hybrid assays, this ability to interact with SPDS2 was decreased approximately 5-fold compared with Hs-10A06. Collectively, these data suggest that sequence divergence between cyst nematode effector protein orthologs could contribute in determining cyst nematode host range.
    Plant signaling & behavior 02/2010; 5(2):187-9. DOI:10.4161/psb.5.2.11084

Publication Stats

909 Citations
201.54 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2014
    • University of Tennessee
      Knoxville, Tennessee, United States
    • The University of Tennessee Medical Center at Knoxville
      Knoxville, Tennessee, United States
  • 2007–2013
    • Iowa State University
      • Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology
      Ames, Iowa, United States
  • 2006
    • École Nationale Supérieure Agronomique de Toulouse
      Tolosa de Llenguadoc, Midi-Pyrénées, France
  • 2005
    • Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse
      Tolosa de Llenguadoc, Midi-Pyrénées, France