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Re‐targeting of a plant defense protease by a cyst nematode effector

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Plants mount defense responses during pathogen attacks, and robust host defense suppression by pathogen effector proteins is essential for infection success. 4E02 is an effector of the sugar beet cyst nematode Heterodera schachtii. Arabidopsis thaliana lines expressing the effector‐coding sequence showed altered expression levels of defense response genes, as well as higher susceptibility to both the biotroph H. schachtii and the necrotroph Botrytis cinerea, indicating a potential suppression of defenses by 4E02. Yeast two‐hybrid analyses showed that 4E02 targets A. thaliana vacuolar papain‐like cysteine protease (PLCP) ‘Responsive to Dehydration 21A’ (RD21A), which has been shown to function in the plant defense response. Activity‐based protein profiling analyses documented that the in planta presence of 4E02 does not impede enzymatic activity of RD21A. Instead, 4E02 mediates a re‐localization of this protease from the vacuole to the nucleus and cytoplasm, which is likely to prevent the protease from performing its defense function and at the same time, brings it in contact with novel substrates. Yeast two‐hybrid analyses showed that RD21A interacts with multiple host proteins including enzymes involved in defense responses as well as carbohydrate metabolism. In support of a role in carbohydrate metabolism of RD21A after its effector‐mediated re‐localization, we observed cell wall compositional changes in 4E02 expressing A. thaliana lines. Collectively, our study shows that 4E02 removes RD21A from its defense‐inducing pathway and repurposes this enzyme by targeting the active protease to different cell compartments.
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Keywords: defense; effector; nematode; plant–pathogen interaction; protease; re‐localization

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2019

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