Powdery mildew disease caused by Leveillula taurica is a serious fungal threat to greenhouse tomato and pepper production. In contrast to most powdery mildew species which are epiphytic, L. taurica is an endophytic fungus colonizing the mesophyll tissues of the leaf. In barley, Arabidopsis, tomato and pea, the correct functioning of specific homologues of the plant Mlo gene family has been found to be required for pathogenesis of epiphytic powdery mildew fungi. The aim of this study was to investigate the involvement of the Mlo genes in susceptibility to the endophytic fungus L. taurica. In tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), a loss-of-function mutation in the SlMlo1 gene results in resistance to powdery mildew disease caused by Oidium neolycopersici. When the tomato Slmlo1 mutant was inoculated with L. taurica in this study, it proved to be less susceptible compared to the control, S. lycopersicum cv. Moneymaker. Further, overexpression of SlMlo1 in the tomato Slmlo1 mutant enhanced susceptibility to L. taurica. In pepper, the CaMlo2 gene was isolated by applying a homology-based cloning approach. Compared to the previously identified CaMlo1 gene, the CaMlo2 gene is more similar to SlMlo1 as shown by phylogenetic analysis, and the expression of CaMlo2 is up-regulated at an earlier time point upon L. taurica infection. However, results of virus-induced gene silencing suggest that both CaMlo1 and CaMlo2 may be involved in the susceptibility of pepper to L. taurica. The fact that overexpression of CaMlo2 restored the susceptibility of the tomato Slmlo1 mutant to O. neolycopersici and increased its susceptibility to L. taurica confirmed the role of CaMlo2 acting as a susceptibility factor to different powdery mildews, though the role of CaMlo1 as a co-factor for susceptibility cannot be excluded.
Recessively inherited natural and induced mutations in the barley Mlo gene confer durable broad-spectrum resistance against the powdery mildew pathogen, Blumeria graminis f.sp. hordei. Mlo codes for a member of a plant-specific family of polytopic integral membrane proteins with unknown biochemical activity. Resistant barley mlo mutant alleles identify amino acid residues that are critical for Mlo function in the context of powdery mildew susceptibility.
We molecularly analyzed a novel set of induced barley mlo mutants and used site-directed mutagenesis in combination with transient gene expression to unravel novel amino acid residues of functional significance. We integrate these results with previous findings to map functionally important regions of the heptahelical Mlo protein. Our data reveal the second and third cytoplasmic loop as being particularly sensitive to functional impediment by mutational perturbation, suggesting that these regions are critical for the susceptibility-conferring activity of the Mlo protein. In contrast, only mutations in the second but not the third cytoplasmic loop appear to trigger the Endoplasmic Reticulum-localized quality control machinery that ensures the biogenesis of properly folded membrane proteins.
Our findings identify functionally important regions of the polytopic barley Mlo protein and reveal the differential sensitivity of individual protein domains to cellular quality control.
Powdery mildew is a major disease of economic importance in cut and pot roses. As an alternative to conventional resistance breeding strategies utilizing single-dominant genes or QTLs, mildew resistance locus o (MLO)-based resistance might offer some advantages. In dicots such as Arabidopsis, pea, and tomato, loss-of-function mutations in MLO genes confer high levels of broad-spectrum resistance. Here, we report the isolation and characterization of four MLO homologs from a large rose EST collection isolated from leaves. These genes are phylogenetically closely related to other dicot MLO genes that are involved in plant powdery mildew interactions. Therefore, they are candidates for MLO genes involved in rose powdery mildew interactions. Two of the four isolated genes contain all of the sequence signatures considered to be diagnostic for MLO genes. We mapped all four genes to three linkage groups and conducted the first analysis of alternative alleles. This information is discussed in regards to a reverse genetics approach aimed at the selection of rose plants that are homozygous for loss-of-function in one or more MLO genes.
powdery mildew; mildew resistance locus o; Podosphaera pannosa; rosaceae; tetraploid
Grape powdery mildew is caused by the North American native pathogen Erysiphe necator. Eurasian Vitis vinifera varieties were all believed to be susceptible. REN1 is the first resistance gene naturally found in cultivated plants of Vitis vinifera.
REN1 is present in 'Kishmish vatkana' and 'Dzhandzhal kara', two grapevines documented in Central Asia since the 1920's. These cultivars have a second-degree relationship (half sibs, grandparent-grandchild, or avuncular), and share by descent the chromosome on which the resistance allele REN1 is located. The REN1 interval was restricted to 1.4 cM using 38 SSR markers distributed across the locus and the segregation of the resistance phenotype in two progenies of collectively 461 offspring, derived from either resistant parent. The boundary markers delimit a 1.4-Mbp sequence in the PN40024 reference genome, which contains 27 genes with known functions, 2 full-length coiled-coil NBS-LRR genes, and 9 NBS-LRR pseudogenes. In the REN1 locus of PN40024, NBS genes have proliferated through a mixture of segmental duplications, tandem gene duplications, and intragenic recombination between paralogues, indicating that the REN1 locus has been inherently prone to producing genetic variation. Three SSR markers co-segregate with REN1, the outer ones confining the 908-kb array of NBS-LRR genes. Kinship and clustering analyses based on genetic distances with susceptible cultivars representative of Central Asian Vitis vinifera indicated that 'Kishmish vatkana' and 'Dzhandzhal kara' fit well into local germplasm. 'Kishmish vatkana' also has a parent-offspring relationship with the seedless table grape 'Sultanina'. In addition, the distant genetic relatedness to rootstocks, some of which are derived from North American species resistant to powdery mildew and have been used worldwide to guard against phylloxera since the late 1800's, argues against REN1 being infused into Vitis vinifera from a recent interspecific hybridisation.
The REN1 gene resides in an NBS-LRR gene cluster tightly delimited by two flanking SSR markers, which can assist in the selection of this DNA block in breeding between Vitis vinifera cultivars. The REN1 locus has multiple layers of structural complexity compared with its two closely related paralogous NBS clusters, which are located some 5 Mbp upstream and 4 Mbp downstream of the REN1 interval on the same chromosome.
Cultivated grapevines, Vitis vinifera subsp. sativa, evolved from their wild relative, V. vinifera subsp. sylvestris. They were domesticated in Central Asia in the absence of the powdery mildew fungus, Erysiphe necator, which is thought to have originated in North America. However, powdery mildew resistance has previously been discovered in two Central Asian cultivars and in Chinese Vitis species.
A set of 380 unique genotypes were evaluated with data generated from 34 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. The set included 306 V. vinifera cultivars, 40 accessions of V. vinifera subsp. sylvestris, and 34 accessions of Vitis species from northern Pakistan, Afghanistan and China. Based on the presence of four SSR alleles previously identified as linked to the powdery mildew resistance locus, Ren1, 10 new mildew resistant genotypes were identified in the test set: eight were V. vinifera cultivars and two were V. vinifera subsp. sylvestris based on flower and seed morphology. Sequence comparison of a 620 bp region that includes the Ren1-linked allele (143 bp) of the co-segregating SSR marker SC8-0071-014, revealed that the ten newly identified genotypes have sequences that are essentially identical to the previously identified mildew resistant V. vinifera cultivars: ‘Kishmish vatkana’ and ‘Karadzhandal’. Kinship analysis determined that three of the newly identified powdery mildew resistant accessions had a relationship with ‘Kishmish vatkana’ and ‘Karadzhandal’, and that six were not related to any other accession in this study set. Clustering procedures assigned accessions into three groups: 1) Chinese species; 2) a mixed group of cultivated and wild V. vinifera; and 3) table grape cultivars, including nine of the powdery mildew resistant accessions. Gene flow was detected among the groups.
This study provides evidence that powdery mildew resistance is present in V. vinifera subsp. sylvestris, the dioecious wild progenitor of the cultivated grape. Four first-degree parent progeny relationships were discovered among the hermaphroditic powdery mildew resistant cultivars, supporting the existence of intentional grape breeding efforts. Although several Chinese grape species are resistant to powdery mildew, no direct genetic link to the resistance found in V. vinifera could be established.
Powdery mildew resistance; Vitis vinifera subsp. sativa; Vitis vinifera subsp. sylvestris; Gene flow
Biotrophic eukaryotic plant pathogens require a living host for their growth and form an intimate haustorial interface with parasitized cells. Evolution to biotrophy occurred independently in fungal rusts and powdery mildews, and in oomycete white rusts and downy mildews. Biotroph evolution and molecular mechanisms of biotrophy are poorly understood. It has been proposed, but not shown, that obligate biotrophy results from (i) reduced selection for maintenance of biosynthetic pathways and (ii) gain of mechanisms to evade host recognition or suppress host defence. Here we use Illumina sequencing to define the genome, transcriptome, and gene models for the obligate biotroph oomycete and Arabidopsis parasite, Albugo laibachii. A. laibachii is a member of the Chromalveolata, which incorporates Heterokonts (containing the oomycetes), Apicomplexa (which includes human parasites like Plasmodium falciparum and Toxoplasma gondii), and four other taxa. From comparisons with other oomycete plant pathogens and other chromalveolates, we reveal independent loss of molybdenum-cofactor-requiring enzymes in downy mildews, white rusts, and the malaria parasite P. falciparum. Biotrophy also requires “effectors” to suppress host defence; we reveal RXLR and Crinkler effectors shared with other oomycetes, and also discover and verify a novel class of effectors, the “CHXCs”, by showing effector delivery and effector functionality. Our findings suggest that evolution to progressively more intimate association between host and parasite results in reduced selection for retention of certain biosynthetic pathways, and particularly reduced selection for retention of molybdopterin-requiring biosynthetic pathways. These mechanisms are not only relevant to plant pathogenic oomycetes but also to human pathogens within the Chromalveolata.
Plant pathogens that cannot grow except on their hosts are called obligate biotrophs. How such biotrophy evolves is poorly understood. In this study, we sequenced the genome of the obligate biotroph white rust pathogen (Albugo laibachii, Oomycota) of Arabidopsis. From comparisons with other oomycete plant pathogens, diatoms, and the human pathogen Plasmodium falciparum, we reveal a loss of important metabolic enzymes. We also reveal the appearance of defence-suppressing “effectors”, some carrying motifs known from other oomycete effectors, and discover and experimentally verify a novel class of effectors that share a CHXC motif within 50 amino acids of the signal peptide cleavage site. Obligate biotrophy involves an intimate association within host cells at the haustorial interface (where the parasite penetrates the host cell's cell wall), where nutrients are acquired from the host and effectors are delivered to the host. We found that A. laibachii, like Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis and Plasmodium falciparum, lacks molybdopterin-requiring biosynthetic pathways, suggesting relaxed selection for retention of, or even selection against, this pathway. We propose that when defence suppression becomes sufficiently effective, hosts become such a reliable source of nutrients that a free-living phase can be lost. These mechanisms leading to obligate biotrophy and host specificity are relevant not only to plant pathogenic oomycetes but also to human pathogens.
The families within the class Mollicutes are distinguished by their morphologies, nutritional requirements, and abilities to metabolize certain compounds. Biosystematic classification of the plant-pathogenic mycoplasmalike organisms (MLOs) has been difficult because these organisms have not been cultured in vitro, and hence their nutritional requirements have not been determined nor have physiological characterizations been possible. To investigate the evolutionary relationship of the MLOs to other members of the class Mollicutes, a segment of a ribosomal protein operon was cloned and sequenced from an aster yellows-type MLO which is pathogenic for members of the genus Oenothera and from Acholeplasma laidlawii. The deduced amino acid sequence data from the rpl22 and rps3 genes indicate that the MLOs are more closely related to A. laidlawii than to animal mycoplasmas, confirming previous results from 16S rRNA sequence comparisons. This conclusion is also supported by the finding that the UGA codon is not read as a tryptophan codon in the MLO and A. laidlawii, in contrast to its usage in Mycoplasma capricolum.
Barley is an alternative host for the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae but is resistant to Magnaporthe species associated with the grass genera Pennisetum and Digitaria. The latter cases are examples for nonhost resistance which confers effective and durable protection to plants against a broad spectrum of pathogens. Comparative transcript profiling of host and nonhost interaction revealed an early and pronounced change in gene expression in epidermal tissue of barley infected with a Magnaporthe nonhost isolate. Interestingly, this set of genes did not overlap considerably with the transcriptional response of barley against nonhost rust or powdery mildew isolates. For a functional testing of candidate genes a combined approach of virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) and subsequent pathogen challenge was established. As anticipated, VIGS-mediated downregulation of Mlo-transcripts led to higher resistance against Blumeria graminis f.sp. hordei and enhanced susceptibility against M. oryzae.
Blumeria graminis; Magnaporthe; macroarray; mlo; nonhost resistance; VIGS
Race-non-specific, or quantitative, pathogen resistance is of high importance to plant breeders due to its expected durability. However, it is usually controlled by multiple quantitative trait loci (QTL) and therefore difficult to handle in practice. Knowing the genes that underlie race-non-specific resistance (NR) would allow its exploitation in a more targeted manner. Here, we performed an association-genetic study in a customized worldwide collection of spring barley accessions for candidate genes of race-NR to the powdery mildew fungus Blumeria graminis f. sp. hordei (Bgh) and combined data with results from QTL mapping as well as functional-genomics approaches. This led to the identification of 11 associated genes with converging evidence for an important role in race-NR in the presence of the Mlo gene for basal susceptibility. Outstanding in this respect was the gene encoding the transcription factor WRKY2. The results suggest that unlocking plant genetic resources and integrating functional-genomic with genetic approaches can accelerate the discovery of genes underlying race-NR in barley and other crop plants.
Hordeum vulgare; Blumeria graminis
The grape powdery mildew fungus, Erysiphe necator, was introduced into Europe more than 160 years ago and is now distributed everywhere that grapes are grown. To understand the invasion history of this pathogen we investigated the evolutionary relationships between introduced populations of Europe, Australia and the western United States (US) and populations in the eastern US, where E. necator is thought to be native. Additionally, we tested the hypothesis that populations of E. necator in the eastern US are structured based on geography and Vitis host species.
We sequenced three nuclear gene regions covering 1803 nucleotides from 146 isolates of E. necator collected from the eastern US, Europe, Australia, and the western US. Phylogeographic analyses show that the two genetic groups in Europe represent two separate introductions and that the genetic groups may be derived from eastern US ancestors. Populations from the western US and Europe share haplotypes, suggesting that the western US population was introduced from Europe. Populations in Australia are derived from European populations. Haplotype richness and nucleotide diversity were significantly greater in the eastern US populations than in the introduced populations. Populations within the eastern US are geographically differentiated; however, no structure was detected with respect to host habitat (i.e., wild or cultivated). Populations from muscadine grapes, V. rotundifolia, are genetically distinct from populations from other Vitis host species, yet no differentiation was detected among populations from other Vitis species.
Multilocus sequencing analysis of the grape powdery mildew fungus is consistent with the hypothesis that populations in Europe, Australia and the western US are derived from two separate introductions and their ancestors were likely from native populations in the eastern US. The invasion history of E. necator follows a pattern consistent with plant-mediated dispersal, however, more exhaustive sampling is required to make more precise conclusions as to origin. E. necator shows no genetic structure across Vitis host species, except with respect to V. rotundifolia.
RING finger proteins comprise a large family and play important roles in regulation of growth and development, hormone signalling, and responses to biotic and abiotic stresses in plants. In this study, the identification and functional characterization of a C4C4-type RING finger protein gene from the Chinese wild grapevine Vitis pseudoreticulata (designated VpRFP1) are reported. VpRFP1 was initially identified as an expressed sequence tag (EST) from a cDNA library constructed from leaves of V. pseudoreticulata inoculated with the grapevine powdery mildew Uncinula necator. Sequence analysis of the deduced VpRFP1 protein based on the full-length cDNA revealed an N-terminal nuclear localization signal (NLS) and a C-terminal C4C4-type RING finger motif with the consensus sequence Cys-X2-Cys-X13-Cys-X1-Cys-X4-Cys-X2-Cys-X10-Cys-X2-Cys. Upon inoculation with U. necator, expression of VpRFP1 was rapidly induced to higher levels in mildew-resistant V. pseudoreticulata plants. In contrast, expression of VpRFP1 was down-regulated in mildew-susceptible V. vinifera plants. Western blotting using an antibody raised against VpRFP1 showed that VpRFP1 was also induced to higher levels in V. pseudoreticulata plants at 12–48 hours post-inoculation (hpi). However, there was only slight increase in VpRFP in V. vinifera plants in the same time frame, even though a more significant increase was observed at 96–144 hpi in these plants. Results from transactivation assays in yeast showed that the RING finger motif of VpRFP1 exhibited some activity of transcriptional activation; however, no activity was seen with the full-length VpRFP1. Overexpression of VpRFP1 in Arabidopsis plants was found to enhance resistance to Arabidopsis powdery mildew Golovinomyces cichoracearum, which seemed to be correlated with increased transcript levels of AtPR1 and AtPR2 in the pathogen-infected tissues. In addition, the Arabidopsis transgenic lines showed enhanced resistance to a virulent bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000. Taken together, the results suggested that VpRFP1 may be a transcriptional activator of defence-related genes in grapevines.
C4C4-type RING finger; Chinese wild Vitis pseudoreticulata; disease resistance; powdery mildew; VpRFP1
Protein effectors of pathogenicity are instrumental in modulating host immunity and disease resistance. The powdery mildew pathogen of grasses Blumeria graminis causes one of the most important diseases of cereal crops. B. graminis is an obligate biotrophic pathogen and as such has an absolute requirement to suppress or avoid host immunity if it is to survive and cause disease.
Here we characterise a superfamily predicted to be the full complement of Candidates for Secreted Effector Proteins (CSEPs) in the fungal barley powdery mildew parasite B. graminis f.sp. hordei. The 491 genes encoding these proteins constitute over 7% of this pathogen’s annotated genes and most were grouped into 72 families of up to 59 members. They were predominantly expressed in the intracellular feeding structures called haustoria, and proteins specifically associated with the haustoria were identified by large-scale mass spectrometry-based proteomics. There are two major types of effector families: one comprises shorter proteins (100–150 amino acids), with a high relative expression level in the haustoria and evidence of extensive diversifying selection between paralogs; the second type consists of longer proteins (300–400 amino acids), with lower levels of differential expression and evidence of purifying selection between paralogs. An analysis of the predicted protein structures underscores their overall similarity to known fungal effectors, but also highlights unexpected structural affinities to ribonucleases throughout the entire effector super-family. Candidate effector genes belonging to the same family are loosely clustered in the genome and are associated with repetitive DNA derived from retro-transposons.
We employed the full complement of genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic analyses as well as structural prediction methods to identify and characterize the members of the CSEPs superfamily in B. graminis f.sp. hordei. Based on relative intron position and the distribution of CSEPs with a ribonuclease-like domain in the phylogenetic tree we hypothesize that the associated genes originated from an ancestral gene, encoding a secreted ribonuclease, duplicated successively by repetitive DNA-driven processes and diversified during the evolution of the grass and cereal powdery mildew lineage.
Host-pathogen interactions; Effector protein structure; Fungal proteomics; Proteogenomics
Dehydrins (DHNs) protect plant cells from desiccation damage during environmental stress, and also participate in host resistance to various pathogens. In this study, we aimed to identify and characterize the DHN gene families from Vitis vinifera and wild V. yeshanensis, which is tolerant to both drought and cold, and moderately resistant to powdery mildew.
Four DHN genes were identified in both V. vinifera and V. yeshanensis, which shared a high sequence identity between the two species but little homology between the genes themselves. These genes were designated DHN1, DHN2, DHN3 and DHN4. All four of the DHN proteins were highly hydrophilic and were predicted to be intrinsically disordered, but they differed in their isoelectric points, kinase selectivities and number of functional motifs. Also, the expression profiles of each gene differed appreciably from one another. Grapevine DHN1 was not expressed in vegetative tissues under normal growth conditions, but was induced by drought, cold, heat, embryogenesis, as well as the application of abscisic acid (ABA), salicylic acid (SA), and methyl jasmonate (MeJA). It was expressed earlier in V. yeshanensis under drought conditions than in V. vinifera, and also exhibited a second round of up-regulation in V. yeshanensis following inoculation with Erysiphe necator, which was not apparent in V. vinifera. Like DHN1, DHN2 was induced by cold, heat, embryogenesis and ABA; however, it exhibited no responsiveness to drought, E. necator infection, SA or MeJA, and was also expressed constitutively in vegetative tissues under normal growth conditions. Conversely, DHN3 was only expressed during seed development at extremely low levels, and DHN4 was expressed specifically during late embryogenesis. Neither DHN3 nor DHN4 exhibited responsiveness to any of the treatments carried out in this study. Interestingly, the presence of particular cis-elements within the promoter regions of each gene was positively correlated with their expression profiles.
The grapevine DHN family comprises four divergent members. While it is likely that their functions overlap to some extent, it seems that DHN1 provides the main stress-responsive function. In addition, our results suggest a close relationship between expression patterns, physicochemical properties, and cis-regulatory elements in the promoter regions of the DHN genes.
Grapevine; Dehydrin; Stress-induced expression; Powdery mildew; Promoter
A global phylogenetic analysis using parsimony of 16S rRNA gene sequences from 46 mollicutes, 19 mycoplasmalike organisms (MLOs) (new trivial name, phytoplasmas), and several related bacteria placed the MLOs definitively among the members of the class Mollicutes and revealed that MLOs form a large discrete monophyletic clade, paraphyletic to the Acholeplasma species, within the Anaeroplasma clade. Within the MLO clade resolved in the global mollicutes phylogeny and a comprehensive MLO phylogeny derived by parsimony analyses of 16S rRNA gene sequences from 30 diverse MLOs representative of nearly all known distinct MLO groups, five major phylogenetic groups with a total of 11 distinct subclades (monophyletic groups or taxa) could be recognized. These MLO subclades (roman numerals) and designated type strains were as follows: i, Maryland aster yellows AY1; ii, apple proliferation AP-A; iii, peanut witches'-broom PnWB; iv, Canada peach X CX; v, rice yellow dwarf RYD; vi, pigeon pea witches'-broom PPWB; vii, palm lethal yellowing LY; viii, ash yellows AshY; ix, clover proliferation CP; x, elm yellows EY; and xi, loofah witches'-broom LfWB. The designations of subclades and their phylogenetic positions within the MLO clade were supported by a congruent phylogeny derived by parsimony analyses of ribosomal protein L22 gene sequences from most representative MLOs. On the basis of the phylogenies inferred in the present study, we propose that MLOs should be represented taxonomically at the minimal level of genus and that each phylogenetically distinct MLO subclade identified should represent at least a distinct species under this new genus.
Powdery mildew (PM), caused by fungus Erysiphe necator, is one of the most devastating diseases of grapevine. To better understand grapevine-PM interaction and provide candidate resources for grapevine breeding, a suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH) cDNA library was constructed from E. necator-infected leaves of a resistant Chinese wild Vitis quinquangularis clone “Shang-24”. A total of 492 high quality expressed sequence tags (ESTs) were obtained and assembled into 266 unigenes. Gene ontology (GO) analysis indicated that 188 unigenes could be assigned with at least one GO term in the biological process category, and 176 in the molecular function category. Sequence analysis showed that a large number of these genes were homologous to those involved in defense responses. Genes involved in metabolism, photosynthesis, transport and signal transduction were also enriched in the library. Expression analysis of 13 selected genes by qRT-PCR revealed that most were induced more quickly and intensely in the resistant material “Shang-24” than in the sensitive V. pseudoreticulata clone “Hunan-1” by E. necator infection. The ESTs reported here provide new clues to understand the disease-resistance mechanism in Chinese wild grapevine species and may enable us to investigate E. necator-responsive genes involved in PM resistance in grapevine germplasm.
Chinese wild Vitis quinquangularis; Erysiphe necator; SSH; EST; qRT-PCR
The powdery mildew diseases, caused by fungal species of the Erysiphales, have an important economic impact on a variety of plant species and have driven basic and applied research efforts in the field of phytopathology for many years. Although the first taxonomic reports on the Erysiphales date back to the 1850's, advances into the molecular biology of these fungal species have been hampered by their obligate biotrophic nature and difficulties associated with their cultivation and genetic manipulation in the laboratory. The discovery in the 1990's of a few species of powdery mildew fungi that cause disease on Arabidopsis has opened a new chapter in this research field. The great advantages of working with a model plant species have translated into remarkable progress in our understanding of these complex pathogens and their interaction with the plant host. Herein we summarize advances in the study of Arabidopsis-powdery mildew interactions and discuss their implications for the general field of plant pathology. We provide an overview of the life cycle of the pathogens on Arabidopsis and describe the structural and functional changes that occur during infection in the host and fungus in compatible and incompatible interactions, with special emphasis on defense signaling, resistance pathways, and compatibility factors. Finally, we discuss the future of powdery mildew research in anticipation of the sequencing of multiple powdery mildew genomes. The cumulative body of knowledge on powdery mildews of Arabidopsis provides a valuable tool for the study and understanding of disease associated with many other obligate biotrophic pathogen species.
The powdery mildew disease represents a valuable patho-system to study the interaction between plant hosts and obligate biotrophic fungal pathogens. Numerous discoveries have been made on the basis of the quantitative evaluation of plant-powdery mildew interactions, especially in the context of hyper-susceptible and/or resistant plant mutants. However, the presently available methods to score the pathogenic success of powdery mildew fungi are laborious and thus not well suited for medium- to high-throughput analysis.
Here we present two new protocols that allow the rapid quantitative assessment of powdery mildew disease development. One procedure depends on quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR)-based evaluation of fungal biomass, while the other relies on the quantification of fungal conidiospores. We validated both techniques using the powdery mildew pathogen Golovinomyces orontii on a set of hyper-susceptible and resistant Arabidopsis thaliana mutants and found that both cover a wide dynamic range of one to two (qPCR) and four to five (quantification of conidia) orders of magnitude, respectively. The two approaches yield reproducible results and are easy to perform without specialized equipment.
The qPCR and spore count assays rapidly and reproducibly quantify powdery mildew pathogenesis. Our methods are performed at later stages of infection and discern mutant phenotypes accurately. The assays therefore complement currently used procedures of powdery mildew quantification and can overcome some of their limitations. In addition, they can easily be adapted to other plant-powdery mildew patho-systems.
Arabidopsis thaliana; Conidiospores; Golovinomyces orontii; Powdery mildew; Quantification; qPCR
Parasites are able to evolve rapidly and overcome host defense mechanisms, but the molecular basis of this adaptation is poorly understood. Powdery mildew fungi (Erysiphales, Ascomycota) are obligate biotrophic parasites infecting nearly 10,000 plant genera. They obtain their nutrients from host plants through specialized feeding structures known as haustoria. We previously identified the AVRk1 powdery mildew-specific gene family encoding effectors that contribute to the successful establishment of haustoria. Here, we report the extensive proliferation of the AVRk1 gene family throughout the genome of B. graminis, with sequences diverging in formae speciales adapted to infect different hosts. Also, importantly, we have discovered that the effectors have coevolved with a particular family of LINE-1 retrotransposons, named TE1a. The coevolution of these two entities indicates a mutual benefit to the association, which could ultimately contribute to parasite adaptation and success. We propose that the association would benefit 1) the powdery mildew fungus, by providing a mechanism for amplifying and diversifying effectors and 2) the associated retrotransposons, by providing a basis for their maintenance through selection in the fungal genome.
To find candidate genes that potentially influence the susceptibility or resistance of crop plants to powdery mildew fungi, an assay system based on transient-induced gene silencing (TIGS) as well as transient over-expression in single epidermal cells of barley has been developed. However, this system relies on quantitative microscopic analysis of the barley/powdery mildew interaction and will only become a high-throughput tool of phenomics upon automation of the most time-consuming steps.
We have developed a high-throughput screening system based on a motorized microscope which evaluates the specimens fully automatically. A large-scale double-blind verification of the system showed an excellent agreement of manual and automated analysis and proved the system to work dependably. Furthermore, in a series of bombardment experiments an RNAi construct targeting the Mlo gene was included, which is expected to phenocopy resistance mediated by recessive loss-of-function alleles such as mlo5. In most cases, the automated analysis system recorded a shift towards resistance upon RNAi of Mlo, thus providing proof of concept for its usefulness in detecting gene-target effects.
Besides saving labor and enabling a screening of thousands of candidate genes, this system offers continuous operation of expensive laboratory equipment and provides a less subjective analysis as well as a complete and enduring documentation of the experimental raw data in terms of digital images. In general, it proves the concept of enabling available microscope hardware to handle challenging screening tasks fully automatically.
The plant-pathogenic mycoplasmalike organisms (MLOs) are so named because they lack cell walls. Many features that are essential to a definitive classification remain uncharacterized, because these organisms have resisted attempts at in vitro culturing. To establish the taxonomic position of the MLOs, the DNA region containing the 16S rRNA gene from a representative of the MLOs has been cloned and sequenced. Sequence comparisons indicate that the MLOs are related to Mycoplasma capricolum and that these two bacteria share their phylogenetic origin with Bacillus subtilis. The low G + C content of this gene and features of its deduced secondary structure further support this grouping. However, the presence of a single tRNAIle gene in the spacer between the 16S rRNA and 23S rRNA genes of the MLOs differentiates the MLOs from other representatives of the mycoplasmas, which indicates an early divergence in the evolution of the members of the class Mollicutes. The presence of certain characteristic oligonucleotides in the 16S rRNA sequence indicates that MLOs may be closely related to acholeplasmas.
We have identified an Arabidopsis mutant that displays enhanced disease resistance (edr2) to the biotrophic powdery mildew pathogen Erysiphe cichoracearum. Inhibition of fungal growth on edr2 mutant leaves occurred at a late stage of the infection process and coincided with formation of necrotic lesions approximately 5 days after inoculation. Double-mutant analysis revealed that edr2-mediated resistance is suppressed by mutations that inhibit salicylic acid (SA)-induced defense signaling, including npr1, pad4 and sid2, demonstrating that edr2-mediated disease resistance is dependent on SA. However, edr2 showed normal responses to the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato strain DC3000. EDR2 appears to be constitutively transcribed in all tissues and organs and encodes a novel protein, consisting of a putative pleckstrin homology (PH) domain and a steroidogenic acute regulatory protein-related lipid-transfer (START) domain, and contains an N-terminal mitochondrial targeting sequence. The PH and START domains are implicated in lipid binding, suggesting that EDR2 may provide a link between lipid signaling and activation of programmed cell death mediated by mitochondria.
defense responses; disease resistance; powdery mildew; programmed cell death; salicylic acid; senescence
We investigated the molecular basis of resistance of the obligate biotrophic grape powdery mildew fungus Uncinula necator to sterol demethylation-inhibiting fungicides (DMIs). The sensitivity of 91 single-spore field isolates of U. necator to triadimenol was assessed by using a leaf disc assay. Resistance factors (RF) ranged from 1.8 to 26.0. The gene encoding the target of DMIs (eburicol 14 alpha-demethylase) from five sensitive and seven resistant isolates was cloned and sequenced. A single mutation, leading to the substitution of a phenylalanine residue for a tyrosine residue at position 136, was found in all isolates exhibiting an RF higher than 5. No mutation was found in sensitive or weakly resistant (RF, < 5) isolates. An allele-specific PCR assay was developed to detect the mutation. Among the 91 isolates tested, only isolates with RF higher than 5 carried the mutation. Three of the 19 resistant isolates and all sensitive and weakly resistant isolates did not possess the mutation. The mutation at codon 136 is thus clearly associated with high levels of resistance to triadimenol.
Powdery mildews are a diverse group of pathogenic fungi that can infect a large number of plant species, including many economically important crops. However, basic and applied research on these devastating diseases has been hampered by the obligate biotrophic lifestyle of the pathogens, which require living host cells for growth and reproduction, and lacking genetic and molecular tools for important host plants. The establishment of Arabidopsis thaliana as a host of different powdery mildew species allowed pursuing new strategies to study the molecular mechanisms governing these complex plant–pathogen interactions. Nitric oxide (NO) has emerged as an important signaling molecule in plants, which is produced upon infection and involved in activation of plant immune responses. However, the source and pathway of NO production and its precise function in the regulatory network of reactions leading to resistance is still unknown. We studied the response of Arabidopsis
thaliana to infection with the adapted powdery mildew, Golovinomyces orontii (compatible interaction) and the non-adapted, Erysiphe pisi (incompatible interaction). We observed that NO accumulated rapidly and transiently at infection sites and we established a correlation between the resistance phenotype and the amount and timing of NO production. Arabidopsis mutants with defective immune response accumulated lower NO levels compared to wild type. Conversely, increased NO levels, generated by treatment with chemicals or expression of a NO-synthesizing enzyme, resulted in enhanced resistance, but only sustained NO production prevented excessive leaf colonization by the fungus, which was not achieved by a short NO burst although this reduced the initial penetration success. By contrast, lowered NO levels did not impair the ultimate resistance phenotype. Although our results suggest a function of NO in mediating plant immune responses, a direct impact on pathogen growth and development cannot be excluded.
disease resistance; plant defense signaling; plant immunity; plant-microbe interaction; powdery mildew; Golovinomyces orontii; Erysiphe pisi
The TIFY gene family constitutes a plant-specific group of genes with a broad range of functions. This family encodes four subfamilies of proteins, including ZML, TIFY, PPD and JASMONATE ZIM-Domain (JAZ) proteins. JAZ proteins are targets of the SCFCOI1 complex, and function as negative regulators in the JA signaling pathway. Recently, it has been reported in both Arabidopsis and rice that TIFY genes, and especially JAZ genes, may be involved in plant defense against insect feeding, wounding, pathogens and abiotic stresses. Nonetheless, knowledge concerning the specific expression patterns and evolutionary history of plant TIFY family members is limited, especially in a woody species such as grape.
A total of two TIFY, four ZML, two PPD and 11 JAZ genes were identified in the Vitis vinifera genome. Phylogenetic analysis of TIFY protein sequences from grape, Arabidopsis and rice indicated that the grape TIFY proteins are more closely related to those of Arabidopsis than those of rice. Both segmental and tandem duplication events have been major contributors to the expansion of the grape TIFY family. In addition, synteny analysis between grape and Arabidopsis demonstrated that homologues of several grape TIFY genes were found in the corresponding syntenic blocks of Arabidopsis, suggesting that these genes arose before the divergence of lineages that led to grape and Arabidopsis. Analyses of microarray and quantitative real-time RT-PCR expression data revealed that grape TIFY genes are not a major player in the defense against biotrophic pathogens or viruses. However, many of these genes were responsive to JA and ABA, but not SA or ET.
The genome-wide identification, evolutionary and expression analyses of grape TIFY genes should facilitate further research of this gene family and provide new insights regarding their evolutionary history and regulatory control.
We screened for mutants of Arabidopsis thaliana that displayed enhanced disease resistance to the powdery mildew pathogen Erysiphe cichoracearum and identified the edr3 mutant, which formed large gray lesions upon infection with E. cichoracearum and supported very little sporulation. The edr3-mediated disease resistance and cell death phenotypes were dependent on salicylic acid signaling, but independent of ethylene and jasmonic acid signaling. In addition, edr3 plants displayed enhanced susceptibility to the necrotrophic fungal pathogen Botrytis cinerea, but showed normal responses to virulent and avirulent strains of Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato. The EDR3 gene was isolated by positional cloning and found to encode Arabidopsis dynamin-related protein 1E (DRP1E). The edr3 mutation caused an amino acid substitution in the GTPase domain of DRP1E (proline 77 to leucine) that is predicted to block GTP hydrolysis, but not GTP binding. A T-DNA insertion allele in DRP1E did not cause powdery mildew-induced lesions, suggesting that this phenotype is caused by DRP1E being locked in the GTP-bound state, rather than by a loss of DRP1E activity. Analysis of DRP1E–green fluorescent protein fusion proteins revealed that DRP1E is at least partially localized to mitochondria. These observations suggest a mechanistic link between salicylic acid signaling, mitochondria and programmed cell death in plants.
disease resistance; powdery mildew; salicylic acid; programmed cell death; senescence; mitochondria