Publications by authors named "Harold J G Meijer"

43 Publications

A world-wide analysis of reduced sensitivity to DMI fungicides in the banana pathogen Pseudocercospora fijiensis.

Pest Manag Sci 2021 Mar 25. Epub 2021 Mar 25.

Wageningen Research, Wageningen University and Research, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Background: Pseudocercospora fijiensis is the causal agent of the black leaf streak disease (BLSD) of banana. Bananas are important global export commodities and a major staple food. Their susceptibility to BLSD pushes disease management towards excessive fungicide use, largely relying on multisite inhibitors and sterol demethylation inhibitors (DMIs). These fungicides are ubiquitous in plant disease control, targeting the CYP51 enzyme. We examined sensitivity to DMIs in P. fijiensis field isolates collected from various major banana production zones in Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, the Philippines, Guadalupe, Martinique and Cameroon and determined the underlying genetic reasons for the observed phenotypes.

Results: We observed a continuous range of sensitivity towards the DMI fungicides difenoconazole, epoxiconazole and propiconazole with clear cross-sensitivity. Sequence analyses of PfCYP51 in 266 isolates showed 28 independent amino acid substitutions, nine of which correlated with reduced sensitivity to DMIs. In addition to the mutations, we observed up to six insertions in the Pfcyp51 promoter. Such promoter insertions contain repeated elements with a palindromic core and correlate with the enhanced expression of Pfcyp51 and hence with reduced DMI sensitivity. Wild-type isolates from unsprayed bananas fields did not contain any promoter insertions.

Conclusion: The presented data significantly contribute to understanding of the evolution and global distribution of DMI resistance mechanisms in P. fijiensis field populations and facilitate the prediction of different DMI efficacy. The overall reduced DMI sensitivity calls for the deployment of a wider range of solutions for sustainable control of this major banana disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ps.6372DOI Listing
March 2021

Mining oomycete proteomes for metalloproteases leads to identification of candidate virulence factors in Phytophthora infestans.

Mol Plant Pathol 2021 May 3;22(5):551-563. Epub 2021 Mar 3.

Laboratory of Phytopathology, Wageningen University and Research, Wageningen, Netherlands.

Pathogens deploy a wide range of pathogenicity factors, including a plethora of proteases, to modify host tissue or manipulate host defences. Metalloproteases (MPs) have been implicated in virulence in several animal and plant pathogens. Here we investigated the repertoire of MPs in 46 stramenopile species including 37 oomycetes, 5 diatoms, and 4 brown algae. Screening their complete proteomes using hidden Markov models (HMMs) trained for MP detection resulted in over 4,000 MPs, with most species having between 65 and 100 putative MPs. Classification in clans and families according to the MEROPS database showed a highly diverse MP repertoire in each species. Analyses of domain composition, orthologous groups, distribution, and abundance within the stramenopile lineage revealed a few oomycete-specific MPs and MPs potentially related to lifestyle. In-depth analyses of MPs in the plant pathogen Phytophthora infestans revealed 91 MPs, divided over 21 protein families, including 25 MPs with a predicted signal peptide or signal anchor. Expression profiling showed different patterns of MP gene expression during pre-infection and infection stages. When expressed in leaves of Nicotiana benthamiana, 12 MPs changed the sizes of lesions caused by inoculation with P. infestans; with 9 MPs the lesions were larger, suggesting a positive effect on the virulence of P. infestans, while 3 MPs had a negative effect, resulting in smaller lesions. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first systematic inventory of MPs in oomycetes and the first study pinpointing MPs as potential pathogenicity factors in Phytophthora.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/mpp.13043DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8035641PMC
May 2021

Pfcyp51 exclusively determines reduced sensitivity to 14α-demethylase inhibitor fungicides in the banana black Sigatoka pathogen Pseudocercospora fijiensis.

PLoS One 2019 17;14(10):e0223858. Epub 2019 Oct 17.

Laboratory of Phytopathology, Wageningen University and Research, The Netherlands, Wageningen, the Netherlands.

The haploid fungus Pseudocercospora fijiensis causes black Sigatoka in banana and is chiefly controlled by extensive fungicide applications, threatening occupational health and the environment. The 14α-Demethylase Inhibitors (DMIs) are important disease control fungicides, but they lose sensitivity in a rather gradual fashion, suggesting an underlying polygenic genetic mechanism. In spite of this, evidence found thus far suggests that P. fijiensis cyp51 gene mutations are the main responsible factor for sensitivity loss in the field. To better understand the mechanisms involved in DMI resistance, in this study we constructed a genetic map using DArTseq markers on two F1 populations generated by crossing two different DMI resistant strains with a sensitive strain. Analysis of the inheritance of DMI resistance in the F1 populations revealed two major and discrete DMI-sensitivity groups. This is an indicative of a single major responsible gene. Using the DMI-sensitivity scorings of both F1 populations and the generation of genetic linkage maps, the sensitivity causal factor was located in a single genetic region. Full agreement was found for genetic markers in either population, underlining the robustness of the approach. The two maps indicated a similar genetic region where the Pfcyp51 gene is found. Sequence analyses of the Pfcyp51 gene of the F1 populations also revealed a matching bimodal distribution with the DMI resistant. Amino acid substitutions in P. fijiensis CYP51 enzyme of the resistant progeny were previously correlated with the loss of DMI sensitivity. In addition, the resistant progeny inherited a Pfcyp51 gene promoter insertion, composed of a repeat element with a palindromic core, also previously correlated with increased gene expression. This genetic approach confirms that Pfcyp51 is the single explanatory gene for reduced sensitivity to DMI fungicides in the analysed P. fijiensis strains. Our study is the first genetic analysis to map the underlying genetic factors for reduced DMI efficacy.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0223858PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6797121PMC
March 2020

An Improved Phenotyping Protocol for Panama Disease in Banana.

Front Plant Sci 2019 6;10:1006. Epub 2019 Aug 6.

Laboratory of Phytopathology, Wageningen University and Research, Wageningen, Netherlands.

() belongs to a group of soil-borne hyphomycetes that are taxonomically collated in the Species Complex (FOSC). Hitherto, those infecting bananas were placed in the forma specialis (). Recently, however, these genetically different lineages were recognized as new spp. placed in the Fusarium of Banana Complex (FOBC). A member of this complex II-5 that uniquely comprises the so-called Tropical Race 4 (TR4), is a major problem sweeping through production zones of Cavendish banana in several regions of the world. Because of this, there is an urgent need for a phenotyping method that allows the screening for resistance to TR4 of large numbers of banana genotypes. Most Fusarium species produce three types of spores: macroconidia, microconidia and the persistent chlamydospores that can contaminate soils for many years. Inoculum production has been an important bottleneck for efficient phenotyping due to the low or variable number of conidia and the elaborate laboratory procedures requiring specific infrastructure. Here, we report a rapid, simple and high-yielding spore production method for nine formae speciales as well as the biocontrol species 47 and 618-12. For spp. causing Fusarium wilt or Panama disease of banana, we used the protocol for four species comprising the recognized physiological races, including Tropical Race 4 (TR4). We subsequently tested the produced inoculum in comparative inoculation trials on banana plants to evaluate their efficiency. All assays resulted in typical symptoms within 10 weeks; significant differences in final disease ratings were observed, depending on inoculum concentration. Pouring inoculum directly onto banana plants showed the most consistent and reproducible results, as expressed in external wilting, internal discoloration and determined by real-time PCR assays on entire rhizomes. Moreover, this method allows the inoculation of 250 plants per hour by one individual thereby facilitating the phenotyping of large mutant and breeding populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2019.01006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6691145PMC
August 2019

Phytophthora infestans small phospholipase D-like proteins elicit plant cell death and promote virulence.

Mol Plant Pathol 2019 02 16;20(2):180-193. Epub 2018 Oct 16.

Laboratory of Phytopathology, Wageningen University and Research, PO Box 16, Wageningen, 6700AA, the Netherlands.

The successful invasion of host tissue by (hemi-)biotrophic plant pathogens is dependent on modifications of the host plasma membrane to facilitate the two-way transfer of proteins and other compounds. Haustorium formation and the establishment of extrahaustorial membranes are probably dependent on a variety of enzymes that modify membranes in a coordinated fashion. Phospholipases, enzymes that hydrolyse phospholipids, have been implicated as virulence factors in several pathogens. The oomycete Phytophthora infestans is a hemibiotrophic pathogen that causes potato late blight. It possesses different classes of phospholipase D (PLD) proteins, including small PLD-like proteins with and without signal peptide (sPLD-likes and PLD-likes, respectively). Here, we studied the role of sPLD-like-1, sPLD-like-12 and PLD-like-1 in the infection process. They are expressed in expanding lesions on potato leaves and during in vitro growth, with the highest transcript levels in germinating cysts. When expressed in planta in the presence of the silencing suppressor P19, all three elicited a local cell death response that was visible at the microscopic level as autofluorescence and strongly boosted in the presence of calcium. Moreover, inoculation of leaves expressing the small PLD-like genes resulted in increased lesion growth and greater numbers of sporangia, but this was abolished when mutated PLD-like genes were expressed with non-functional PLD catalytic motifs. These results show that the three small PLD-likes are catalytically active and suggest that their enzymatic activity is required for the promotion of virulence, possibly by executing membrane modifications to support the growth of P. infestans in the host.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/mpp.12746DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6637911PMC
February 2019

New Geographical Insights of the Latest Expansion of f.sp. Tropical Race 4 Into the Greater Mekong Subregion.

Front Plant Sci 2018 9;9:457. Epub 2018 Apr 9.

Wageningen University and Research, Wageningen Plant Research, Wageningen, Netherlands.

Banana is the most popular and most exported fruit and also a major food crop for millions of people around the world. Despite its importance and the presence of serious disease threats, research into this crop is limited. One of those is Panama disease or Fusarium wilt. In the previous century Fusarium wilt wiped out the "Gros Michel" based banana industry in Central America. The epidemic was eventually quenched by planting "Cavendish" bananas. However, 50 years ago the disease recurred, but now on "Cavendish" bananas. Since then the disease has spread across South-East Asia, to the Middle-East and the Indian subcontinent and leaped into Africa. Here, we report the presence of f.sp. Tropical Race 4 (Foc TR4) in "Cavendish" plantations in Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam. A combination of classical morphology, DNA sequencing, and phenotyping assays revealed a very close relationship between the Foc TR4 strains in the entire Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), which is increasingly prone to intensive banana production. Analyses of single-nucleotide polymorphisms enabled us to initiate a phylogeography of Foc TR4 across three geographical areas-GMS, Indian subcontinent, and the Middle East revealing three distinct Foc TR4 sub-lineages. Collectively, our data place these new incursions in a broader agroecological context and underscore the need for awareness campaigns and the implementation of validated quarantine measures to prevent further international dissemination of Foc TR4.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2018.00457DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5900031PMC
April 2018

Targeted and random genetic modification of the black Sigatoka pathogen Pseudocercospora fijiensis by Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation.

J Microbiol Methods 2018 05 12;148:127-137. Epub 2018 Apr 12.

Wageningen University and Research, Wageningen Plant Research, PO Box 16, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands; Wageningen University and Research, Laboratory of Phytopathology, PO Box 16, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mimet.2018.03.017DOI Listing
May 2018

Stress and sexual reproduction affect the dynamics of the wheat pathogen effector AvrStb6 and strobilurin resistance.

Nat Genet 2018 03 12;50(3):375-380. Epub 2018 Feb 12.

Laboratory of Phytopathology, Wageningen University and Research, Wageningen, the Netherlands.

Host resistance and fungicide treatments are cornerstones of plant-disease control. Here, we show that these treatments allow sex and modulate parenthood in the fungal wheat pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici. We demonstrate that the Z. tritici-wheat interaction complies with the gene-for-gene model by identifying the effector AvrStb6, which is recognized by the wheat resistance protein Stb6. Recognition triggers host resistance, thus implying removal of avirulent strains from pathogen populations. However, Z. tritici crosses on wheat show that sex occurs even with an avirulent parent, and avirulence alleles are thereby retained in subsequent populations. Crossing fungicide-sensitive and fungicide-resistant isolates under fungicide pressure results in a rapid increase in resistance-allele frequency. Isolates under selection always act as male donors, and thus disease control modulates parenthood. Modeling these observations for agricultural and natural environments reveals extended durability of host resistance and rapid emergence of fungicide resistance. Therefore, fungal sex has major implications for disease control.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-018-0052-9DOI Listing
March 2018

The Ancient Link between G-Protein-Coupled Receptors and C-Terminal Phospholipid Kinase Domains.

mBio 2018 01 23;9(1). Epub 2018 Jan 23.

Laboratory of Phytopathology, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands

Sensing external signals and transducing these into intracellular responses requires a molecular signaling system that is crucial for every living organism. Two important eukaryotic signal transduction pathways that are often interlinked are G-protein signaling and phospholipid signaling. Heterotrimeric G-protein subunits activated by G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are typical stimulators of phospholipid signaling enzymes such as phosphatidylinositol phosphate kinases (PIPKs) or phospholipase C (PLC). However, a direct connection between the two pathways likely exists in oomycetes and slime molds, as they possess a unique class of GPCRs that have a PIPK as an accessory domain. In principle, these so-called GPCR-PIPKs have the capacity of perceiving an external signal (via the GPCR domain) that, via PIPK, directly activates downstream phospholipid signaling. Here we reveal the sporadic occurrence of GPCR-PIPKs in all eukaryotic supergroups, except for plants. Notably, all species having GPCR-PIPKs are unicellular microorganisms that favor aquatic environments. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that GPCR-PIPKs are likely ancestral to eukaryotes and significantly expanded in the last common ancestor of oomycetes. In addition to GPCR-PIPKs, we identified five hitherto-unknown classes of GPCRs with accessory domains, four of which are universal players in signal transduction. Similarly to GPCR-PIPKs, this enables a direct coupling between extracellular sensing and downstream signaling. Overall, our findings point to an ancestral signaling system in eukaryotes where GPCR-mediated sensing is directly linked to downstream responses. G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are central sensors that activate eukaryotic signaling and are the primary targets of human drugs. In this report, we provide evidence for the widespread though limited presence of a novel class of GPCRs in a variety of unicellular eukaryotes. These include free-living organisms and organisms that are pathogenic for plants, animals, and humans. The novel GPCRs have a C-terminal phospholipid kinase domain, pointing to a direct link between sensing external signals via GPCRs and downstream intracellular phospholipid signaling. Genes encoding these receptors were likely present in the last common eukaryotic ancestor and were lost during the evolution of higher eukaryotes. We further describe five other types of GPCRs with a catalytic accessory domain, the so-called GPCR-bigrams, four of which may potentially have a role in signaling. These findings shed new light onto signal transduction in microorganisms and provide evidence for alternative eukaryotic signaling pathways.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/mBio.02119-17DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5784254PMC
January 2018

A new mechanism for reduced sensitivity to demethylation-inhibitor fungicides in the fungal banana black Sigatoka pathogen Pseudocercospora fijiensis.

Mol Plant Pathol 2018 06 13;19(6):1491-1503. Epub 2018 Feb 13.

Wageningen University and Research, Wageningen Plant Research, 6700 AA Wageningen, the Netherlands.

The Dothideomycete Pseudocercospora fijiensis, previously Mycosphaerella fijiensis, is the causal agent of black Sigatoka, one of the most destructive diseases of bananas and plantains. Disease management depends on fungicide applications, with a major contribution from sterol demethylation-inhibitors (DMIs). The continued use of DMIs places considerable selection pressure on natural P. fijiensis populations, enabling the selection of novel genotypes with reduced sensitivity. The hitherto explanatory mechanism for this reduced sensitivity was the presence of non-synonymous point mutations in the target gene Pfcyp51, encoding the sterol 14α-demethylase enzyme. Here, we demonstrate a second mechanism involved in DMI sensitivity of P. fijiensis. We identified a 19-bp element in the wild-type (wt) Pfcyp51 promoter that concatenates in strains with reduced DMI sensitivity. A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay identified up to six Pfcyp51 promoter repeats in four field populations of P. fijiensis in Costa Rica. We used transformation experiments to swap the wt promoter of a sensitive field isolate with a promoter from a strain with reduced DMI sensitivity that comprised multiple insertions. Comparative in vivo phenotyping showed a functional and proportional up-regulation of Pfcyp51, which consequently decreased DMI sensitivity. Our data demonstrate that point mutations in the Pfcyp51 coding domain, as well as promoter inserts, contribute to the reduced DMI sensitivity of P. fijiensis. These results provide new insights into the importance of the appropriate use of DMIs and the need for the discovery of new molecules for black Sigatoka management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/mpp.12637DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6637983PMC
June 2018

Proteomic Analysis of Reveals the Importance of Cell Wall Proteins in Pathogenicity.

Mol Cell Proteomics 2017 11 21;16(11):1958-1971. Epub 2017 Sep 21.

From the ‡Department of Plant Protection Biology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, PO Box 102, SE-230 53 Alnarp, Sweden.

The oomycete is the most harmful pathogen of potato. It causes the disease late blight, which generates increased yearly costs of up to one billion euro in the EU alone and is difficult to control. We have performed a large-scale quantitative proteomics study of six life stages with the aim to identify proteins that change in abundance during development, with a focus on preinfectious life stages. Over 10 000 peptides from 2061 proteins were analyzed. We identified several abundance profiles of proteins that were up- or downregulated in different combinations of life stages. One of these profiles contained 59 proteins that were more abundant in germinated cysts and appressoria. A large majority of these proteins were not previously recognized as being appressorial proteins or involved in the infection process. Among those are proteins with putative roles in transport, amino acid metabolism, pathogenicity (including one RXLR effector) and cell wall structure modification. We analyzed the expression of the genes encoding nine of these proteins using RT-qPCR and found an increase in transcript levels during disease progression, in agreement with the hypothesis that these proteins are important in early infection. Among the nine proteins was a group involved in cell wall structure modification and adhesion, including three closely related, uncharacterized proteins encoded by PITG_01131, PITG_01132, and PITG_16135, here denoted Transient silencing of these genes resulted in reduced severity of infection, indicating that these proteins are important for pathogenicity. Our results contribute to further insight into biology, and indicate processes that might be relevant for the pathogen while preparing for host cell penetration and during infection. The mass spectrometry data have been deposited to ProteomeXchange via the PRIDE partner repository with the data set identifier PXD002446.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/mcp.M116.065656DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5672002PMC
November 2017

Acclimation to salt modifies the activation of several osmotic stress-activated lipid signalling pathways in Chlamydomonas.

Phytochemistry 2017 Mar 22;135:64-72. Epub 2016 Dec 22.

Section Plant Physiology, Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, University of Amsterdam, Science Park 904, 1098XH, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Electronic address:

Osmotic stress rapidly activates several phospholipid signalling pathways in the unicellular alga Chlamydomonas. In this report, we have studied the effects of salt-acclimation on growth and phospholipid signalling. Growing cells on media containing 100 mM NaCl increased their salt-tolerance but did not affect the overall phospholipid content, except that levels of phosphatidylinositol phosphate (PIP) and phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate [PI(4,5)P] were reduced by one-third. When these NaCl-acclimated cells were treated with increasing concentrations of salt, the same lipid signalling pathways as in non-acclimated cells were activated. This was witnessed as increases in phosphatidic acid (PA), lyso-phosphatidic acid (L-PA), diacylglycerol pyrophosphate (DGPP), PI(4,5)P and its isomer PI(3,5)P. However, all dose-dependent responses were shifted to higher osmotic-stress levels, and the responses were lower than in non-acclimated cells. When NaCl-acclimated cells were treated with other osmotica, such as KCl and sucrose, the same effects were found, illustrating that they were due to hyperosmotic rather than hyperionic acclimation. The results indicate that acclimation to moderate salt stress modifies stress perception and the activation of several downstream pathways.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.phytochem.2016.12.014DOI Listing
March 2017

Filamentous actin accumulates during plant cell penetration and cell wall plug formation in Phytophthora infestans.

Cell Mol Life Sci 2017 03 6;74(5):909-920. Epub 2016 Oct 6.

Laboratory of Cell Biology, Wageningen University, Droevendaalsesteeg 1, 6708 PB, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

The oomycete Phytophthora infestans is the cause of late blight in potato and tomato. It is a devastating pathogen and there is an urgent need to design alternative strategies to control the disease. To find novel potential drug targets, we used Lifeact-eGFP expressing P. infestans for high resolution live cell imaging of the actin cytoskeleton in various developmental stages. Previously, we identified actin plaques as structures that are unique for oomycetes. Here we describe two additional novel actin configurations; one associated with plug deposition in germ tubes and the other with appressoria, infection structures formed prior to host cell penetration. Plugs are composed of cell wall material that is deposited in hyphae emerging from cysts to seal off the cytoplasm-depleted base after cytoplasm retraction towards the growing tip. Preceding plug formation there was a typical local actin accumulation and during plug deposition actin remained associated with the leading edge. In appressoria, formed either on an artificial surface or upon contact with plant cells, we observed a novel aster-like actin configuration that was localized at the contact point with the surface. Our findings strongly suggest a role for the actin cytoskeleton in plug formation and plant cell penetration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00018-016-2383-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5306229PMC
March 2017

Genome analyses of the sunflower pathogen Plasmopara halstedii provide insights into effector evolution in downy mildews and Phytophthora.

BMC Genomics 2015 Oct 5;16:741. Epub 2015 Oct 5.

Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F), Georg-Voigt-Str. 14-16, 60325, Frankfurt (Main), Germany.

Background: Downy mildews are the most speciose group of oomycetes and affect crops of great economic importance. So far, there is only a single deeply-sequenced downy mildew genome available, from Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis. Further genomic resources for downy mildews are required to study their evolution, including pathogenicity effector proteins, such as RxLR effectors. Plasmopara halstedii is a devastating pathogen of sunflower and a potential pathosystem model to study downy mildews, as several Avr-genes and R-genes have been predicted and unlike Arabidopsis downy mildew, large quantities of almost contamination-free material can be obtained easily.

Results: Here a high-quality draft genome of Plasmopara halstedii is reported and analysed with respect to various aspects, including genome organisation, secondary metabolism, effector proteins and comparative genomics with other sequenced oomycetes. Interestingly, the present analyses revealed further variation of the RxLR motif, suggesting an important role of the conservation of the dEER-motif. Orthology analyses revealed the conservation of 28 RxLR-like core effectors among Phytophthora species. Only six putative RxLR-like effectors were shared by the two sequenced downy mildews, highlighting the fast and largely independent evolution of two of the three major downy mildew lineages. This is seemingly supported by phylogenomic results, in which downy mildews did not appear to be monophyletic.

Conclusions: The genome resource will be useful for developing markers for monitoring the pathogen population and might provide the basis for new approaches to fight Phytophthora and downy mildew pathogens by targeting core pathogenicity effectors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12864-015-1904-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4594904PMC
October 2015

Genome mining and metabolic profiling of the rhizosphere bacterium Pseudomonas sp. SH-C52 for antimicrobial compounds.

Front Microbiol 2015 7;6:693. Epub 2015 Jul 7.

Laboratory of Phytopathology, Wageningen University Wageningen, Netherlands ; Department of Microbial Ecology, Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) Wageningen, Netherlands.

The plant microbiome represents an enormous untapped resource for discovering novel genes and bioactive compounds. Previously, we isolated Pseudomonas sp. SH-C52 from the rhizosphere of sugar beet plants grown in a soil suppressive to the fungal pathogen Rhizoctonia solani and showed that its antifungal activity is, in part, attributed to the production of the chlorinated 9-amino-acid lipopeptide thanamycin (Mendes et al., 2011). To get more insight into its biosynthetic repertoire, the genome of Pseudomonas sp. SH-C52 was sequenced and subjected to in silico, mutational and functional analyses. The sequencing revealed a genome size of 6.3 Mb and 5579 predicted ORFs. Phylogenetic analysis placed strain SH-C52 within the Pseudomonas corrugata clade. In silico analysis for secondary metabolites revealed a total of six non-ribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) gene clusters, including the two previously described NRPS clusters for thanamycin and the 2-amino acid antibacterial lipopeptide brabantamide. Here we show that thanamycin also has activity against an array of other fungi and that brabantamide A exhibits anti-oomycete activity and affects phospholipases of the late blight pathogen Phytophthora infestans. Most notably, mass spectrometry led to the discovery of a third lipopeptide, designated thanapeptin, with a 22-amino-acid peptide moiety. Seven structural variants of thanapeptin were found with varying degrees of activity against P. infestans. Of the remaining four NRPS clusters, one was predicted to encode for yet another and unknown lipopeptide with a predicted peptide moiety of 8-amino acids. Collectively, these results show an enormous metabolic potential for Pseudomonas sp. SH-C52, with at least three structurally diverse lipopeptides, each with a different antimicrobial activity spectrum.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2015.00693DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4493835PMC
July 2015

Effect of Flumorph on F-Actin Dynamics in the Potato Late Blight Pathogen Phytophthora infestans.

Phytopathology 2015 Apr;105(4):419-23

First, second, fourth, and fifth authors: Laboratory of Phytopathology, and second and third authors: Laboratory of Cell Biology, Wageningen University, Droevendaalsesteeg 1, 6708 PB Wageningen, The Netherlands; and fourth author: Centre for BioSystems Genomics, Droevendaalsesteeg 1, 6708 PB Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Oomycetes are fungal-like pathogens that cause notorious diseases. Protecting crops against oomycetes requires regular spraying with chemicals, many with an unknown mode of action. In the 1990s, flumorph was identified as a novel crop protection agent. It was shown to inhibit the growth of oomycete pathogens including Phytophthora spp., presumably by targeting actin. We recently generated transgenic Phytophthora infestans strains that express Lifeact-enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP), which enabled us to monitor the actin cytoskeleton during hyphal growth. For analyzing effects of oomicides on the actin cytoskeleton in vivo, the P. infestans Lifeact-eGFP strain is an excellent tool. Here, we confirm that flumorph is an oomicide with growth inhibitory activity. Microscopic analyses showed that low flumorph concentrations provoked hyphal tip swellings accompanied by accumulation of actin plaques in the apex, a feature reminiscent of tips of nongrowing hyphae. At higher concentrations, swelling was more pronounced and accompanied by an increase in hyphal bursting events. However, in hyphae that remained intact, actin filaments were indistinguishable from those in nontreated, nongrowing hyphae. In contrast, in hyphae treated with the actin depolymerizing drug latrunculin B, no hyphal bursting was observed but the actin filaments were completely disrupted. This difference demonstrates that actin is not the primary target of flumorph.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/PHYTO-04-14-0119-RDOI Listing
April 2015

The Top 10 oomycete pathogens in molecular plant pathology.

Mol Plant Pathol 2015 May 11;16(4):413-34. Epub 2014 Dec 11.

The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, NR4 7UH, UK.

Oomycetes form a deep lineage of eukaryotic organisms that includes a large number of plant pathogens which threaten natural and managed ecosystems. We undertook a survey to query the community for their ranking of plant-pathogenic oomycete species based on scientific and economic importance. In total, we received 263 votes from 62 scientists in 15 countries for a total of 33 species. The Top 10 species and their ranking are: (1) Phytophthora infestans; (2, tied) Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis; (2, tied) Phytophthora ramorum; (4) Phytophthora sojae; (5) Phytophthora capsici; (6) Plasmopara viticola; (7) Phytophthora cinnamomi; (8, tied) Phytophthora parasitica; (8, tied) Pythium ultimum; and (10) Albugo candida. This article provides an introduction to these 10 taxa and a snapshot of current research. We hope that the list will serve as a benchmark for future trends in oomycete research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/mpp.12190DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6638381PMC
May 2015

The heat shock transcription factor PsHSF1 of Phytophthora sojae is required for oxidative stress tolerance and detoxifying the plant oxidative burst.

Environ Microbiol 2015 Apr 9;17(4):1351-64. Epub 2014 Oct 9.

Department of Plant Pathology, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, 210095, China.

In the interaction between plant and microbial pathogens, reactive oxygen species (ROS) rapidly accumulate upon pathogen recognition at the infection site and play a central role in plant defence. However, the mechanisms that plant pathogens use to counteract ROS are still poorly understood especially in oomycetes, filamentous organisms that evolved independently from fungi. ROS detoxification depends on transcription factors (TFs) that are highly conserved in fungi but much less conserved in oomycetes. In this study, we identified the TF PsHSF1 that acts as a modulator of the oxidative stress response in the soybean stem and root rot pathogen Phytophthora sojae. We found that PsHSF1 is critical for pathogenicity in P. sojae by detoxifying the plant oxidative burst. ROS produced in plant defence can be detoxified by extracellular peroxidases and laccases which might be regulated by PsHSF1. Our study extends the understanding of ROS detoxification mechanism mediated by a heat shock TF in oomycetes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1462-2920.12609DOI Listing
April 2015

Profiling the secretome and extracellular proteome of the potato late blight pathogen Phytophthora infestans.

Mol Cell Proteomics 2014 Aug 28;13(8):2101-13. Epub 2014 May 28.

§Proteomics Unit, Center of Genomics Regulation (CRG), Carrer Dr. Aiguader 88, 08003 Barcelona, Spain; ¶Proteomics Unit, Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Carrer Dr. Aiguader 88, 08003 Barcelona, Spain;

Oomycetes are filamentous organisms that cause notorious diseases, several of which have a high economic impact. Well known is Phytophthora infestans, the causal agent of potato late blight. Previously, in silico analyses of the genome and transcriptome of P. infestans resulted in the annotation of a large number of genes encoding proteins with an N-terminal signal peptide. This set is collectively referred to as the secretome and comprises proteins involved in, for example, cell wall growth and modification, proteolytic processes, and the promotion of successful invasion of plant cells. So far, proteomic profiling in oomycetes was primarily focused on subcellular, intracellular or cell wall fractions; the extracellular proteome has not been studied systematically. Here we present the first comprehensive characterization of the in vivo secretome and extracellular proteome of P. infestans. We have used mass spectrometry to analyze P. infestans proteins present in seven different growth media with mycelial cultures and this resulted in the consistent identification of over two hundred proteins. Gene ontology classification pinpointed proteins involved in cell wall modifications, pathogenesis, defense responses, and proteolytic processes. Moreover, we found members of the RXLR and CRN effector families as well as several proteins lacking an obvious signal peptide. The latter were confirmed to be bona fide extracellular proteins and this suggests that, similar to other organisms, oomycetes exploit non-conventional secretion mechanisms to transfer certain proteins to the extracellular environment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/mcp.M113.035873DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4125740PMC
August 2014

Quantitative label-free phosphoproteomics of six different life stages of the late blight pathogen Phytophthora infestans reveals abundant phosphorylation of members of the CRN effector family.

J Proteome Res 2014 Apr 17;13(4):1848-59. Epub 2014 Mar 17.

Department of Plant Protection Biology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences , SE-230 53 Alnarp, Sweden.

The oomycete Phytophthora infestans is the causal agent of late blight in potato and tomato. Since the underlying processes that govern pathogenicity and development in P. infestans are largely unknown, we have performed a large-scale phosphoproteomics study of six different P. infestans life stages. We have obtained quantitative data for 2922 phosphopeptides and compared their abundance. Life-stage-specific phosphopeptides include ATP-binding cassette transporters and a kinase that only occurs in appressoria. In an extended data set, we identified 2179 phosphorylation sites and deduced 22 phosphomotifs. Several of the phosphomotifs matched consensus sequences of kinases that occur in P. infestans but not Arabidopsis. In addition, we detected tyrosine phosphopeptides that are potential targets of kinases resembling mammalian tyrosine kinases. Among the phosphorylated proteins are members of the RXLR and Crinkler effector families. The latter are phosphorylated in several life stages and at multiple positions, in sites that are conserved between different members of the Crinkler family. This indicates that proteins in the Crinkler family have functions beyond their putative role as (necrosis-inducing) effectors. This phosphoproteomics data will be instrumental for studies on oomycetes and host-oomycete interactions. The data sets have been deposited to ProteomeXchange (identifier PXD000433).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/pr4009095DOI Listing
April 2014

Actin dynamics in Phytophthora infestans; rapidly reorganizing cables and immobile, long-lived plaques.

Cell Microbiol 2014 Jun 10;16(6):948-61. Epub 2014 Jan 10.

Laboratory of Phytopathology, Wageningen University, Droevendaalsesteeg 1, Wageningen, 6708, PB, The Netherlands.

The actin cytoskeleton is a dynamic but well-organized intracellular framework that is essential for proper functioning of eukaryotic cells. Here, we use the actin binding peptide Lifeact to investigate the in vivo actin cytoskeleton dynamics in the oomycete plant pathogen Phytophthora infestans. Lifeact-eGFP labelled thick and thin actin bundles and actin filament plaques allowing visualization of actin dynamics. All actin structures in the hyphae were cortically localized. In growing hyphae actin filament cables were axially oriented in the sub-apical region whereas in the extreme apex in growing hyphae, waves of fine F-actin polymerization were observed. Upon growth termination, actin filament plaques appeared in the hyphal tip. The distance between a hyphal tip and the first actin filament plaque correlated strongly with hyphal growth velocity. The actin filament plaques were nearly immobile with average lifetimes exceeding 1 h, relatively long when compared to the lifetime of actin patches known in other eukaryotes. Plaque assembly required ∼30 s while disassembly was accomplished in ∼10 s. Remarkably, plaque disassembly was not accompanied with internalization and the formation of endocytic vesicles. These findings suggest that the functions of actin plaques in oomycetes differ from those of actin patches present in other organisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cmi.12254DOI Listing
June 2014

Distinctive expansion of potential virulence genes in the genome of the oomycete fish pathogen Saprolegnia parasitica.

PLoS Genet 2013 Jun 13;9(6):e1003272. Epub 2013 Jun 13.

Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America.

Oomycetes in the class Saprolegniomycetidae of the Eukaryotic kingdom Stramenopila have evolved as severe pathogens of amphibians, crustaceans, fish and insects, resulting in major losses in aquaculture and damage to aquatic ecosystems. We have sequenced the 63 Mb genome of the fresh water fish pathogen, Saprolegnia parasitica. Approximately 1/3 of the assembled genome exhibits loss of heterozygosity, indicating an efficient mechanism for revealing new variation. Comparison of S. parasitica with plant pathogenic oomycetes suggests that during evolution the host cellular environment has driven distinct patterns of gene expansion and loss in the genomes of plant and animal pathogens. S. parasitica possesses one of the largest repertoires of proteases (270) among eukaryotes that are deployed in waves at different points during infection as determined from RNA-Seq data. In contrast, despite being capable of living saprotrophically, parasitism has led to loss of inorganic nitrogen and sulfur assimilation pathways, strikingly similar to losses in obligate plant pathogenic oomycetes and fungi. The large gene families that are hallmarks of plant pathogenic oomycetes such as Phytophthora appear to be lacking in S. parasitica, including those encoding RXLR effectors, Crinkler's, and Necrosis Inducing-Like Proteins (NLP). S. parasitica also has a very large kinome of 543 kinases, 10% of which is induced upon infection. Moreover, S. parasitica encodes several genes typical of animals or animal-pathogens and lacking from other oomycetes, including disintegrins and galactose-binding lectins, whose expression and evolutionary origins implicate horizontal gene transfer in the evolution of animal pathogenesis in S. parasitica.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1003272DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3681718PMC
June 2013

GK4, a G-protein-coupled receptor with a phosphatidylinositol phosphate kinase domain in Phytophthora infestans, is involved in sporangia development and virulence.

Mol Microbiol 2013 Apr 11;88(2):352-70. Epub 2013 Mar 11.

Laboratory of Phytopathology, Wageningen University, Droevendaalsesteeg 1, 6708 PB, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

For dispersal and host infection plant pathogens largely depend on asexual spores. Pathogenesis and sporulation are complex processes that are governed by cellular signalling networks including G-protein and phospholipid signalling. Oomycetes possess a family of novel proteins called GPCR-PIPKs (GKs) that are composed of a seven-transmembrane spanning (7-TM) domain fused to a phosphatidylinositol phosphate kinase (PIPK) domain. Based on this domain structure GKs are anticipated to link G-protein and phospholipid signal pathways; however, their functions are currently unknown. Expression analyses of the 12 GK genes in Phytophthora infestans and their orthologues in Phytophthora sojae, revealed differential expression during asexual development. PiGK1 and PiGK4 were fused to monomeric red fluorescent protein (mRFP) and ectopically expressed in P. infestans. In growing hyphae different subcellular distribution patterns were observed indicating that these two GKs act independently during development. We focused on the functional analyses of PiGK4. Its localization suggested involvement in cell differentiation and elongation and its 7-TM domain showed a canonical GPCR membrane topology. Silencing of GK4 and overexpression of full-length and truncated constructs in P. infestans revealed that PiGK4 is not only involved in spore germination and hyphal elongation but also in sporangia cleavage and infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/mmi.12190DOI Listing
April 2013

Effects of latrunculin B on the actin cytoskeleton and hyphal growth in Phytophthora infestans.

Fungal Genet Biol 2012 Dec 2;49(12):1014-22. Epub 2012 Oct 2.

Laboratory of Cell Biology, Wageningen University, Droevendaalsesteeg 1, 6708 PB Wageningen, The Netherlands.

The actin cytoskeleton is conserved in all eukaryotes, but its functions vary among different organisms. In oomycetes, the function of the actin cytoskeleton has received relatively little attention. We have performed a bioinformatics study and show that oomycete actin genes fall within a distinct clade that is divergent from plant, fungal and vertebrate actin genes. To obtain a better understanding of the functions of the actin cytoskeleton in hyphal growth of oomycetes, we studied the actin organization in Phytophthora infestans hyphae and the consequences of treatment with the actin depolymerising drug latrunculin B (latB). This revealed that latB treatment causes a concentration dependent inhibition of colony expansion and aberrant hyphal growth. The most obvious aberrations observed upon treatment with 0.1 μM latB were increased hyphal branching and irregular tube diameters whereas at higher concentrations latB (0.5 and 1 μM) tips of expanding hyphae changed into balloon-like shapes. This aberrant growth correlated with changes in the organization of the actin cytoskeleton. In untreated hyphae, staining with fluorescently tagged phalloidin revealed two populations of actin filaments: long, axially oriented actin filament cables and cortical actin filament plaques. Two hyphal subtypes were recognized, one containing only plaques and the other containing both cables and plaques. In the latter, some hyphae had an apical zone without actin filament plaques. Upon latB treatment, the proportion of hyphae without actin filament cables increased and there were more hyphae with a short apical zone without actin filament plaques. In general, actin filament plaques were more resilient against actin depolymerisation than actin filament cables. Besides disturbing hyphal growth and actin organization, actin depolymerisation also affected the positioning of nuclei. In the presence of latB, the distance between nuclei and the hyphal tip decreased, suggesting that the actin cytoskeleton plays a role in preventing the movement of nuclei towards the hyphal tip.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fgb.2012.09.008DOI Listing
December 2012

Defense activation triggers differential expression of phospholipase-C (PLC) genes and elevated temperature induces phosphatidic acid (PA) accumulation in tomato.

Plant Signal Behav 2012 Sep 17;7(9):1073-8. Epub 2012 Aug 17.

Laboratory of Phytopathology, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Recently, we provided the first genetic evidence for the requirement of tomato PLC4 and PLC6 genes in defense activation and disease resistance. The encoded enzymes were catalytically active as they were able to degrade phosphatidylinositol (PI), thereby producing diacylglycerol (DG). Here we report differential PLC gene expression following the initiation of defense signaling by the interaction between Cladosporium fulvum resistance (R) protein Cf-4 and its matching effector Avr4 in tomato hybrid seedlings that express both Cf-4 and Avr4. Furthermore, we observed that PLC3 and PLC6 gene expression is upregulated by elevated temperature in the control seedlings. This upregulation coincides with an increase in the levels of phosphatidic acid (PA) and a decrease in the levels of PI and phosphatidylinositol phosphate (PIP). The decrease in PI and PIP levels matches with the activation of PLC. In addition, the levels of the structural phospholipids phosphatidylcholine (PC), phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) and phosphatidylglycerol (PG) declined transiently during recovery after the exposure to elevated temperature., Further studies will be required to explain the mechanism causing the sustained accumulation of PA during recovery, combined with a reduction in the levels of structural phospholipids.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/psb.21030DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3489630PMC
September 2012

The aspartic proteinase family of three Phytophthora species.

BMC Genomics 2011 May 20;12:254. Epub 2011 May 20.

School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF10 3AX, UK.

Background: Phytophthora species are oomycete plant pathogens with such major social and economic impact that genome sequences have been determined for Phytophthora infestans, P. sojae and P. ramorum. Pepsin-like aspartic proteinases (APs) are produced in a wide variety of species (from bacteria to humans) and contain conserved motifs and landmark residues. APs fulfil critical roles in infectious organisms and their host cells. Annotation of Phytophthora APs would provide invaluable information for studies into their roles in the physiology of Phytophthora species and interactions with their hosts.

Results: Genomes of Phytophthora infestans, P. sojae and P. ramorum contain 11-12 genes encoding APs. Nine of the original gene models in the P. infestans database and several in P. sojae and P. ramorum (three and four, respectively) were erroneous. Gene models were corrected on the basis of EST data, consistent positioning of introns between orthologues and conservation of hallmark motifs. Phylogenetic analysis resolved the Phytophthora APs into 5 clades. Of the 12 sub-families, several contained an unconventional architecture, as they either lacked a signal peptide or a propart region. Remarkably, almost all APs are predicted to be membrane-bound.

Conclusions: One of the twelve Phytophthora APs is an unprecedented fusion protein with a putative G-protein coupled receptor as the C-terminal partner. The others appear to be related to well-documented enzymes from other species, including a vacuolar enzyme that is encoded in every fungal genome sequenced to date. Unexpectedly, however, the oomycetes were found to have both active and probably-inactive forms of an AP similar to vertebrate BACE, the enzyme responsible for initiating the processing cascade that generates the Aβ peptide central to Alzheimer's Disease. The oomycetes also encode enzymes similar to plasmepsin V, a membrane-bound AP that cleaves effector proteins of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum during their translocation into the host red blood cell. Since the translocation of Phytophthora effector proteins is currently a topic of intense research activity, the identification in Phytophthora of potential functional homologues of plasmepsin V would appear worthy of investigation. Indeed, elucidation of the physiological roles of the APs identified here offers areas for future study. The significant revision of gene models and detailed annotation presented here should significantly facilitate experimental design.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2164-12-254DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3116508PMC
May 2011

Phytophthora infestans has a plethora of phospholipase D enzymes including a subclass that has extracellular activity.

PLoS One 2011 Mar 14;6(3):e17767. Epub 2011 Mar 14.

Laboratory of Phytopathology, Plant Sciences Group, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

In eukaryotes phospholipase D (PLD) is involved in many cellular processes. Currently little is known about PLDs in oomycetes. Here we report that the oomycete plant pathogen Phytophthora infestans has a large repertoire of PLDs divided over six subfamilies: PXPH-PLD, PXTM-PLD, TM-PLD, PLD-likes, and type A and B sPLD-likes. Since the latter have signal peptides we developed a method using metabolically labelled phospholipids to monitor if P. infestans secretes PLD. In extracellular medium of ten P. infestans strains PLD activity was detected as demonstrated by the production of phosphatidic acid and the PLD specific marker phosphatidylalcohol.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0017767PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3056787PMC
March 2011

At the Frontier; RXLR Effectors Crossing the Phytophthora-Host Interface.

Front Plant Sci 2011 1;2:75. Epub 2011 Nov 1.

Laboratory of Phytopathology, Wageningen University Wageningen, Netherlands.

Plants are constantly beset by pathogenic organisms. To successfully infect their hosts, plant pathogens secrete effector proteins, many of which are translocated to the inside of the host cell where they manipulate normal physiological processes and undermine host defense. The way by which effectors cross the frontier to reach the inside of the host cell varies among different classes of pathogens. For oomycete plant pathogens - like the potato late blight pathogen Phytophthora infestans - it has been shown that effector translocation to the host cell cytoplasm is dependent on conserved amino acid motifs that are present in the N-terminal part of effector proteins. One of these motifs, known as the RXLR motif, has a strong resemblance with a host translocation motif found in effectors secreted by Plasmodium species. These malaria parasites, that reside inside specialized vacuoles in red blood cells, make use of a specific protein translocation complex to export effectors from the vacuole into the red blood cell. Whether or not also oomycete RXLR effectors require a translocation complex to cross the frontier is still under investigation. For one P. infestans RXLR effector named IPI-O we have found a potential host target that could play a role in establishing the first contact between this effector and the host cell. This membrane spanning lectin receptor kinase, LecRK-I.9, interacts with IPI-O via the tripeptide RGD that overlaps with the RXLR motif. In animals, RGD is a well-known cell adhesion motif; it binds to integrins, which are membrane receptors that regulate many cellular processes and which can be hijacked by pathogens for either effector translocation or pathogen entry into host cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2011.00075DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3355728PMC
August 2012

Genome-wide identification of Phytophthora sojae SNARE genes and functional characterization of the conserved SNARE PsYKT6.

Fungal Genet Biol 2011 Mar 23;48(3):241-51. Epub 2010 Nov 23.

Department of Plant Pathology, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, China.

Soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptors (SNAREs) are central components of the machinery mediating membrane fusion and key factors for vesicular trafficking in all eukaryotic cells. Taking advantage of the available whole genome sequence of the oomycete plant pathogen Phytophthora sojae, 35 genes encoding putative SNARE proteins were identified in the genome of this organism. PsYKT6, one of the most conserved SNARE proteins, was functionally characterized by homology-dependent gene silencing. The phenotype analysis showed that PsYKT6 is important for proper asexual development, sexual reproduction, and pathogenesis on host soybean cultivars.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fgb.2010.11.006DOI Listing
March 2011

Genome sequence of the necrotrophic plant pathogen Pythium ultimum reveals original pathogenicity mechanisms and effector repertoire.

Genome Biol 2010 13;11(7):R73. Epub 2010 Jul 13.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 960 Carling Ave, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0C6, Canada.

Background: Pythium ultimum is a ubiquitous oomycete plant pathogen responsible for a variety of diseases on a broad range of crop and ornamental species.

Results: The P. ultimum genome (42.8 Mb) encodes 15,290 genes and has extensive sequence similarity and synteny with related Phytophthora species, including the potato blight pathogen Phytophthora infestans. Whole transcriptome sequencing revealed expression of 86% of genes, with detectable differential expression of suites of genes under abiotic stress and in the presence of a host. The predicted proteome includes a large repertoire of proteins involved in plant pathogen interactions, although, surprisingly, the P. ultimum genome does not encode any classical RXLR effectors and relatively few Crinkler genes in comparison to related phytopathogenic oomycetes. A lower number of enzymes involved in carbohydrate metabolism were present compared to Phytophthora species, with the notable absence of cutinases, suggesting a significant difference in virulence mechanisms between P. ultimum and more host-specific oomycete species. Although we observed a high degree of orthology with Phytophthora genomes, there were novel features of the P. ultimum proteome, including an expansion of genes involved in proteolysis and genes unique to Pythium. We identified a small gene family of cadherins, proteins involved in cell adhesion, the first report of these in a genome outside the metazoans.

Conclusions: Access to the P. ultimum genome has revealed not only core pathogenic mechanisms within the oomycetes but also lineage-specific genes associated with the alternative virulence and lifestyles found within the pythiaceous lineages compared to the Peronosporaceae.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/gb-2010-11-7-r73DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2926784PMC
December 2010