Plants activate defense responses through the recognition of microbe-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs). Recently, several pattern-recognition receptors (PRRs) have been identified in plants, paving the way for manipulating MAMP signaling. CEBiP is a receptor for the chitin elicitor (CE) identified in the rice plasma membrane and XA21 is a member of the receptor-like protein kinase (RLK) family that confers disease resistance to rice bacterial leaf blight expressing the sulfated protein Ax21. To improve resistance to rice blast, the most serious fungal disease of rice, we aimed to create a defense system that combines high affinity of CEBiP for CE and the ability of XA21 to confer disease resistance. Cultured rice cells expressing the chimeric receptor CRXA, which consists of CEBiP and the intracellular region of XA21, induced cell death accompanied by an increased production of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species after exposure to CE. Rice plants expressing the chimeric receptor exhibited more resistance to rice blast. Engineering PRRs may be a new strategy in molecular breeding for achieving disease resistance.
chimeric receptor; chitin signal; disease resistance; HR cell death; MAMP-induced resistance; rice blast fungus
Chitin is a major molecular pattern for various fungi, and its fragments, chitin oligosaccharides, are known to induce various defense responses in plant cells. A plasma membrane glycoprotein, CEBiP (chitin elicitor binding protein) and a receptor kinase, CERK1 (chitin elicitor receptor kinase) (also known as LysM-RLK1), were identified as critical components for chitin signaling in rice and Arabidopsis, respectively. However, it is not known whether each plant species requires both of these two types of molecules for chitin signaling, nor the relationships between these molecules in membrane signaling. We report here that rice cells require a LysM receptor-like kinase, OsCERK1, in addition to CEBiP, for chitin signaling. Knockdown of OsCERK1 resulted in marked suppression of the defense responses induced by chitin oligosaccharides, indicating that OsCERK1 is essential for chitin signaling in rice. The results of a yeast two-hybrid assay indicated that both CEBiP and OsCERK1 have the potential to form hetero- or homo-oligomers. Immunoprecipitation using a membrane preparation from rice cells treated with chitin oligosaccharides suggested the ligand-induced formation of a receptor complex containing both CEBiP and OsCERK1. Blue native PAGE and chemical cross-linking experiments also suggested that a major portion of CEBiP exists as homo-oligomers even in the absence of chitin oligosaccharides.
chitin elicitor; LysM receptor; receptor-like kinase; receptor complex; signal transduction; rice
Chitosan, a deacetylated chitin derivative, behaves like a general elicitor, inducing a non-host resistance and priming a systemic acquired immunity. The defence responses elicited by chitosan include rising of cytosolic H+ and Ca2+, activation of MAP-kinases, callose apposition, oxidative burst, hypersensitive response (HR), synthesis of abscissic acid (ABA), jasmonate, phytoalexins and pathogenesis related (PR) proteins. Putative receptors for chitosan are a chitosan-binding protein, recently isolated, and possibly the chitin elicitor-binding protein (CEBiP). Nevertheless, it must be pointed out that biological activity of chitosan, besides the plant model, strictly depends on its physicochemical properties (deacetylation degree, molecular weight and viscosity), and that there is a threshold for chitosan concentration able to switch the induction of a cell death programme into necrotic cell death (cytotoxicity).
chitosan; induced resistance; MAMP; PAMP; PCD; PRR; SAR
The rice blast pathogen, Magnaporthe oryzae has been widely used as a model pathogen to study plant infection-related fungal morphogenesis, such as penetration via appressorium and plant-microbe interactions at the molecular level. Previously, we identified a gene encoding peroxisomal alanine: glyoxylate aminotransferase 1 (AGT1) in M. oryzae and demonstrated that the AGT1 was indispensable for pathogenicity. The AGT1 knockout mutants were unable to penetrate the host plants, such as rice and barley, and therefore were non-pathogenic. The inability of ∆Moagt1 mutants to penetrate the susceptible plants was likely due to the disruption in coordination of the β-oxidation and the glyoxylate cycle resulted from a blockage in lipid droplet mobilization and eventually utilization during conidial germination and appressorium morphogenesis, respectively. Here, we further demonstrate the role of AGT1 in lipid mobilization by in vitro germination assays and confocal microscopy.
pathogenicity; conidia; appressorium; lipid; AGT1
Barley plants can be colonized by the fungus Magnaporthe oryzae, a pathogen initially known from rice plant cultivation. A mutational screen was performed in the barley mlo-genetic background which is, in comparison to wild-type MLO-genotypes, hypersusceptible against this fungus. This led to the identification of a mutant, referred to as emr1 (enhanced Magnaporthe resistance), that showed partially restored resistance. Disease symptoms on leaves of emr1 were significantly less severe than on mlo5-genotypes but still more than on wt MLO-barley plants.
Segregation analysis showed that emr1 was inherited as a single recessive trait. Insight into the mode of action of emr1-dependent resistance against M. oryzae was gained by microscopic analysis. The results of these experiments revealed that mutant emr1 blocked penetration by M. oryzae by the formation of effective papillae in approximately half of all incidences. At about 30% of the interaction sites fungal growth was arrested effectively by an HR in the epidermal cell. Only a low frequency of fungal infection sites proceed into the mesophyll where fungal invasion resulted in the onset of a hypersensitive response (HR)-like cell death. Here, we report further evidence that barley shows a mesophyll HR in response to colonisation by M. oryzae. The possibility that the fungus turns this ostensible defence reaction to its own advantage and profits from the dead host tissue by switching to a necrotrophic lifestyle is discussed.
barley; hypersensitive response; Magnaporthe; MLO; mutational analysis; papillae; penetration; Hin1
To search for virulence effector genes of the rice blast fungus, Magnaporthe oryzae, we carried out a large-scale targeted disruption of genes for 78 putative secreted proteins that are expressed during the early stages of infection of M. oryzae. Disruption of the majority of genes did not affect growth, conidiation, or pathogenicity of M. oryzae. One exception was the gene MC69. The mc69 mutant showed a severe reduction in blast symptoms on rice and barley, indicating the importance of MC69 for pathogenicity of M. oryzae. The mc69 mutant did not exhibit changes in saprophytic growth and conidiation. Microscopic analysis of infection behavior in the mc69 mutant revealed that MC69 is dispensable for appressorium formation. However, mc69 mutant failed to develop invasive hyphae after appressorium formation in rice leaf sheath, indicating a critical role of MC69 in interaction with host plants. MC69 encodes a hypothetical 54 amino acids protein with a signal peptide. Live-cell imaging suggested that fluorescently labeled MC69 was not translocated into rice cytoplasm. Site-directed mutagenesis of two conserved cysteine residues (Cys36 and Cys46) in the mature MC69 impaired function of MC69 without affecting its secretion, suggesting the importance of the disulfide bond in MC69 pathogenicity function. Furthermore, deletion of the MC69 orthologous gene reduced pathogenicity of the cucumber anthracnose fungus Colletotrichum orbiculare on both cucumber and Nicotiana benthamiana leaves. We conclude that MC69 is a secreted pathogenicity protein commonly required for infection of two different plant pathogenic fungi, M. oryzae and C. orbiculare pathogenic on monocot and dicot plants, respectively.
Magnaporthe oryzae causes the most devastating fungal disease in rice. M. oryzae secretes a plethora of effector proteins, including several avirulence proteins which are known to be recognized by host resistance proteins activating innate immunity. However, the effectors that are required for virulence activity have not been identified in M. oryzae to date except for an effector protein, Secreted LysM Protein 1 (Slp1) that was recently identified. We performed a large-scale disruption analysis of M. oryzae effector candidates and identified a small protein MC69, which is secreted by the fungus during infection. When MC69 is absent, pathogenicity is severely reduced after penetration into the host cells. Furthermore, deletion of the MC69 orthologous gene in Colletotrichum orbiculare reduced its pathogenicity in the host plants cucumber and Nicotiana benthamiana. Thus, MC69 is conserved in ascomycete fungi and is crucial for establishing compatibility. This is the first report of a single secreted protein that is indispensable for pathogenicity in both monocot and dicot pathogenic fungi. How MC69 contributes to pathogenicity or virulence is unknown but it could be required for the fungus to be a pathogen or might be a classical effector that acts on plant target molecules.
The role of β-oxidation and the glyoxylate cycle in fungal pathogenesis is well documented. However, an ambiguity still remains over their interaction in peroxisomes to facilitate fungal pathogenicity and virulence. In this report, we characterize a gene encoding an alanine, glyoxylate aminotransferase 1 (AGT1) in Magnaporthe oryzae, the causative agent of rice blast disease, and demonstrate that AGT1 is required for pathogenicity of M. oryzae. Targeted deletion of AGT1 resulted in the failure of penetration via appressoria; therefore, mutants lacking the gene were unable to induce blast symptoms on the hosts rice and barley. This penetration failure may be associated with a disruption in lipid mobilization during conidial germination as turgor generation in the appressorium requires mobilization of lipid reserves from the conidium. Analysis of enhanced green fluorescent protein expression using the transcriptional and translational fusion with the AGT1 promoter and open reading frame, respectively, revealed that AGT1 expressed constitutively in all in vitro grown cell types and during in planta colonization, and localized in peroxisomes. Peroxisomal localization was further confirmed by colocalization with red fluorescent protein fused with the peroxisomal targeting signal 1. Surprisingly, conidia produced by the Δagt1 mutant were unable to form appressoria on artificial inductive surfaces, even after prolonged incubation. When supplemented with nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+)+pyruvate, appressorium formation was restored on an artificial inductive surface. Taken together, our data indicate that AGT1-dependent pyruvate formation by transferring an amino group of alanine to glyoxylate, an intermediate of the glyoxylate cycle is required for lipid mobilization and utilization. This pyruvate can be converted to non-fermentable carbon sources, which may require reoxidation of NADH generated by the β-oxidation of fatty acids to NAD+ in peroxisomes. Therefore, it may provide a means to maintain redox homeostasis in appressoria.
Chitin is a major component of fungal cell wall and is synthesized by chitin synthases (Chs). Plant pathogenic fungi normally have multiple chitin synthase genes. To determine their roles in development and pathogenesis, we functionally characterized all seven CHS genes in Magnaporthe oryzae. Three of them, CHS1, CHS6, and CHS7, were found to be important for plant infection. While the chs6 mutant was non-pathogenic, the chs1 and chs7 mutants were significantly reduced in virulence. CHS1 plays a specific role in conidiogenesis, an essential step for natural infection cycle. Most of chs1 conidia had no septum and spore tip mucilage. The chs6 mutant was reduced in hyphal growth and conidiation. It failed to penetrate and grow invasively in plant cells. The two MMD-containing chitin synthase genes, CHS5 and CHS6, have a similar expression pattern. Although deletion of CHS5 had no detectable phenotype, the chs5 chs6 double mutant had more severe defects than the chs6 mutant, indicating that they may have overlapping functions in maintaining polarized growth in vegetative and invasive hyphae. Unlike the other CHS genes, CHS7 has a unique function in appressorium formation. Although it was blocked in appressorium formation by germ tubes on artificial hydrophobic surfaces, the chs7 mutant still produced melanized appressoria by hyphal tips or on plant surfaces, indicating that chitin synthase genes have distinct impacts on appressorium formation by hyphal tip and germ tube. The chs7 mutant also was defective in appressorium penetration and invasive growth. Overall, our results indicate that individual CHS genes play diverse roles in hyphal growth, conidiogenesis, appressorium development, and pathogenesis in M. oryzae, and provided potential new leads in the control of this devastating pathogen by targeting specific chitin synthases.
Chitin is one of the major components of cell wall that plays vital roles in hyphal tip growth and fungal morphogenesis. Biosynthesis of chitin is catalyzed by chitin synthases, a well-known fungicide target. However, systematic characterization of chitin synthase genes has not yet been reported in plant pathogenic ascomycetes. To determine their roles in development and pathogenesis, in this study we functionally characterized all the seven chitin synthase genes (CHS1-CHS7) in Magnaporthe oryzae, a model for studying fungal development and pathogenesis. While CHS2, CHS3, CHS4, and CHS5 are dispensable for plant infection, CHS6 is essential for pathogenesis. The chs6 mutant failed to penetrate plant cells and develop infectious hyphae. Two other chitin synthase genes, CHS1 and CHS7, also are important for virulence. The chs1 and chs7 mutants caused only rare lesions on rice seedlings. Other than plant infection, CHS1 and CHS7 also play specific roles during conidiogenesis and appressorium formation, respectively. Interestingly, the chs7 mutant was blocked in appressorium formation by germ tubes on artificial hydrophobic surfaces but was normal by hyphal tips and on plant surfaces. Different chitin synthase genes may be involved during appressorium formation by different fungal tissues or on different surfaces in M. oryzae.
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
Soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor (SNARE) proteins mediate intracellular vesicle fusion, which is an essential cellular process of the eukaryotic cells. To investigate the role of SNARE proteins in the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae, MoSec22, an ortholog of Saccharomyces cerevisiae SNARE protein Sec22, was identified and the MoSEC22 gene disrupted. MoSec22 restored a S. cerevisiae sec22 mutant in resistance to cell wall perturbing agents, and the ΔMosec22 mutant also exhibited defects in mycelial growth, conidial production, and infection of the host plant. Treatment with oxidative stress inducers indicated a breach in cell wall integrity, and staining and quantification assays suggested abnormal chitin deposition on the lateral walls of hyphae of the ΔMosec22 mutant. Furthermore, hypersensitivity to the oxidative stress correlates with the reduced expression of the extracellular enzymes peroxidases and laccases. Our study thus provides new evidence on the conserved function of Sec22 among fungal organisms and indicates that MoSec22 has a role in maintaining cell wall integrity affecting the growth, morphogenesis, and virulence of M. oryzae.
Rice blast caused by Magnaporthe oryzae is a devastating disease of rice. Mechanisms of rice resistance to blast have been studied extensively, and the rice–M. oryzae pathosystem has become a model for plant–microbe interaction studies. However, the mechanisms of non-host resistance (NHR) to rice blast in other plants remain poorly understood. We found that penetration resistance to M. oryzae in multiple mutants, including pen2 NahG pmr5 agb1 and pen2 NahG pmr5 mlo2 plants, was severely compromised and that fungal growth was permitted in penetrated epidermal cells. Furthermore, rice Pi21 enhanced movement of infection hyphae from penetrated Arabidopsis epidermal cells to adjacent mesophyll cells. These results indicate that PEN2, PMR5, AGB1, and MLO2 function in both penetration and post-penetration resistance to M. oryzae in Arabidopsis, and suggest that the absence of rice Pi21 contributed to Arabidopsis NHR to M. oryzae.
The rice blast disease caused by Magnaporthe oryzae is a major constraint on world rice production. The conidia produced by this fungal pathogen are the main source of disease dissemination. The morphology of conidia may be a critical factor in the spore dispersal and virulence of M. oryzae in the field. Deletion of a conidial morphology regulating gene encoding putative transcriptional regulator COM1 in M. oryzae resulted in aberrant conidial shape, reduced conidiation and attenuated virulence.
In this study, a two-dimensional gel electrophoresis/matrix assisted laser desorption ionization- time of flight mass spectrometry (2-DE/MALDI-TOF MS) based proteomics approach was employed to identify the cellular and molecular components regulated by the COM1 protein (COM1p) that might contribute to the aberrant phenotypes in M. oryzae. By comparing the conidial proteomes of COM1 deletion mutant and its isogenic wild-type strain P131, we identified a potpourri of 31 proteins that exhibited statistically significant alterations in their abundance levels. Of these differentially regulated proteins, the abundance levels of nine proteins were elevated and twelve were reduced in the Δcom1 mutant. Three proteins were detected only in the Δcom1 conidial proteome, whereas seven proteins were apparently undetectable. The data obtained in the study suggest that the COM1p plays a key role in transcriptional reprogramming of genes implicated in melanin biosynthesis, carbon and energy metabolism, structural organization of cell, lipid metabolism, amino acid metabolism, etc. Semi-quantitative RT-PCR analysis revealed the down-regulation of genes encoding enzymes involved in melanin biosynthesis in the COM1 mutant.
Our results suggest that the COM1p may regulate the transcription of genes involved in various cellular processes indispensable for conidial development and appressorial penetration. These functions are likely to contribute to the effects of COM1p upon the aberrant phenotypes of M. oryzae.
This article is reviewed by George V. Shpakovski, Karthikeyan Sivaraman (nominated by M. Madan Babu) and Lakshminarayan M. Iyer.
Plants evoke innate immunity against microbial challenges upon recognition of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs), such as fungal cell wall chitin. Nevertheless, pathogens may circumvent the host PAMP-triggered immunity. We previously reported that the ascomycete Magnaporthe oryzae, a famine-causing rice pathogen, masks cell wall surfaces with α-1,3-glucan during invasion. Here, we show that the surface α-1,3-glucan is indispensable for the successful infection of the fungus by interfering with the plant's defense mechanisms. The α-1,3-glucan synthase gene MgAGS1 was not essential for infectious structure development but was required for infection in M. oryzae. Lack or degradation of surface α-1,3-glucan increased fungal susceptibility towards chitinase, suggesting the protective role of α-1,3-glucan against plants' antifungal enzymes during infection. Furthermore, rice plants secreting bacterial α-1,3-glucanase (AGL-rice) showed strong resistance not only to M. oryzae but also to the phylogenetically distant ascomycete Cochlioborus miyabeanus and the polyphagous basidiomycete Rhizoctonia solani; the histocytochemical analysis of the latter two revealed that α-1,3-glucan also concealed cell wall chitin in an infection-specific manner. Treatment with α-1,3-glucanase in vitro caused fragmentation of infectious hyphae in R. solani but not in M. oryzae or C. miyabeanus, indicating that α-1,3-glucan is also involved in maintaining infectious structures in some fungi. Importantly, rapid defense responses were evoked (a few hours after inoculation) in the AGL-rice inoculated with M. oryzae, C. miyabeanus and R. solani as well as in non-transgenic rice inoculated with the ags1 mutant. Taken together, our results suggest that α-1,3-glucan protected the fungal cell wall from degradative enzymes secreted by plants even from the pre-penetration stage and interfered with the release of PAMPs to delay innate immune defense responses. Because α-1,3-glucan is nondegradable in plants, it is reasonable that many fungal plant pathogens utilize α-1,3-glucan in the innate immune evasion mechanism and some in maintaining the structures.
Magnaporthe oryzae, Cochlioborus miyabeanus, and Rhizoctonia solani are the top three fungal pathogens that are responsible for devastating damage to the production of rice, a staple cereal for half of the world's population. These fungal pathogens infect host plants despite the plants' innate immunity, which is activated upon recognition of a conserved cell wall component in fungi, such as chitin. Fungal pathogens seem to have evading mechanism(s) against the host innate immunity; however, the mechanisms are still unclear. In this study, we discovered a novel mechanism that is commonly used by fungal pathogens to prevent host innate immunity. In this mechanism, fungal pathogens mask the cell wall surfaces with α-1,3-glucan, a polysaccharide that plants cannot degrade. In fact, a transgenic rice secreting a bacterial α-1,3-glucanase, which is able to remove α-1,3-glucan on the fungal surfaces, obtained strong resistance to all of those fungal pathogens. We also showed that plants rapidly activated defense responses against fungi (even before the fungal penetration) when α-1,3-glucan on the fungal surfaces were damaged or removed. Our study suggests that fungal surface α-1,3-glucan interferes with host immunity in many fungal pathogens and that α-1,3-glucan is a potential target for controlling various fungal diseases in plants.
Magnaporthe oryzae, which causes the devastating rice-blast disease, invades its host plants via a specialized infection structure called the appressorium. Previously, we showed that the ATP-Binding Cassette 3 transporter is necessary for appressorial function (host penetration) in M. oryzae. However, thus far, the molecular basis underlying impaired appressorial function in the abc3Δ remains elusive. We hypothesized that the abc3Δ appressoria accumulate excessive amounts of specific efflux substrate(s) of the Abc3 transporter in M. oryzae. We devised an innovative yeast-based strategy and identified Abc3 Transporter efflux Substrate (ATS) to be a digoxin-like endogenous steroidal glycoside that accumulates to inhibitory levels in M. oryzae abc3Δ appressoria. Exogenous ATS altered cell wall biogenesis and viability in wild-type Schizosaccharomyces pombe, but not in S. pombe expressing M. oryzae Abc3. We show that ATS associates with the Translation Elongation factor Tef2 in M. oryzae, and propose that ATS regulates ion homeostasis during pathogenesis. Excessive ATS accumulation, either intracellularly due to impaired efflux in the abc3Δ or when added exogenously to the wild type, renders M. oryzae nonpathogenic. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the host penetration defects in the abc3Δ are due to aberrant F-actin dynamics as a result of altered Tef2 function and/or ion homeostasis defects caused by excess accumulation of ATS therein. Rather surprisingly, excessive exogenous ATS or digoxin elicited the hypersensitive response in rice, even in the absence of the blast fungus. Lastly, reduced disease symptoms in the inoculated host plants in the presence of excessive digoxin suggest a potential use for such related steroidal glycosides in controlling rice-blast disease.
Magnaporthe oryzae, the causal fungus of the devastating blast disease in rice, invades its host via specialized infection structures called appressoria. Previously, we showed that ATP-Binding Cassette 3 (Abc3) transporter is indispensable for appresssorial function of host penetration in M. oryzae. However, the cause of inviable appressoria and impaired host entry in the abc3Δ remained unclear. ABC transporters are known to efflux xenobiotic or toxic molecules to the cell exterior. Therefore, we hypothesized that the loss of Abc3 pump leads to excessive accumulation of its physiological substrate to likely inhibitory levels resulting in appressorial dysfunction. We devised an innovative yeast-based strategy to successfully purify the Abc3 Transporter Substrate (ATS). We show that ATS is a digoxin-like endogenous steroidal glycoside primarily involved in modulating ion homeostasis and host colonization in M. oryzae. Furthermore, we identified Translational Elongation Factor 2 (Tef2) as the target for ATS, and find a mechanistic link between ATS, ion homeostasis, Tef2 function, and F-actin dynamics during M. oryzae pathogenesis. We uncover a unique ability of ATS to induce the hypersensitive response and consequently disease resistance in host plants. Lastly, digoxin-like steroidal glycosides promise to be novel antifungal agents to combat the destructive blast disease in crop plants.
Rice blast caused by Magnaporthe oryzae is one of the most destructive diseases of rice worldwide. The fungal pathogen is notorious for its ability to overcome host resistance. To better understand its genetic variation in nature, we sequenced the genomes of two field isolates, Y34 and P131. In comparison with the previously sequenced laboratory strain 70-15, both field isolates had a similar genome size but slightly more genes. Sequences from the field isolates were used to improve genome assembly and gene prediction of 70-15. Although the overall genome structure is similar, a number of gene families that are likely involved in plant-fungal interactions are expanded in the field isolates. Genome-wide analysis on asynonymous to synonymous nucleotide substitution rates revealed that many infection-related genes underwent diversifying selection. The field isolates also have hundreds of isolate-specific genes and a number of isolate-specific gene duplication events. Functional characterization of randomly selected isolate-specific genes revealed that they play diverse roles, some of which affect virulence. Furthermore, each genome contains thousands of loci of transposon-like elements, but less than 30% of them are conserved among different isolates, suggesting active transposition events in M. oryzae. A total of approximately 200 genes were disrupted in these three strains by transposable elements. Interestingly, transposon-like elements tend to be associated with isolate-specific or duplicated sequences. Overall, our results indicate that gain or loss of unique genes, DNA duplication, gene family expansion, and frequent translocation of transposon-like elements are important factors in genome variation of the rice blast fungus.
Magnaporthe oryzae is the causal agent of rice blast that is mainly controlled with resistance cultivars. However, genetic variations in the pathogen often lead to overcoming R gene-mediated resistance in rice cultivars. In this study we sequenced two field isolates from China and Japan. In comparison with the laboratory strain that was previously sequenced, the field isolates have a similar genome size and overall genome structure. However, they have slightly more genes and contain a number of expanded gene families that are likely involved in plant-fungal interactions. Each of the isolates has specific genes, some of which affect virulence and some others are important for asexual development. The three strains differ noticeably in the distribution of transposon-like elements. Many of the transposable elements tend to be associated with isolate-specific or duplicated sequences. This study revealed genetic factors involved in genome variation of the rice blast fungus.
Rice blast, caused by Magnaporthe oryzae, is a devastating disease of rice (Oryza sativa). The mechanisms involved in resistance of rice to blast have been studied extensively and the rice—M. oryzae pathosystem has become a model for plant—microbe interaction studies. However, the mechanisms involved in nonhost resistance (NHR) of other plants to rice blast are still poorly understood. We have recently demonstrated that AGB1 and PMR5 contribute to PEN2-mediated preinvasion resistance to M. oryzae in Arabidopsis thaliana, suggesting a complex genetic network regulating the resistance. To determine whether other defense factors: RAR1, SGT1 and NHO1, affected the A. thaliana-M. oryzae interactions, double mutants were generated between pen2 and these defense-related mutants. All these double mutants exhibited a level of penetration resistance similar to that of the pen2 mutant, suggesting that none of these mutants significantly compromised resistance to M. oryzae in a pen2 background.
nonhost resistance; PEN2; RAR1; SGT1; NHO1
Plants and animals have evolved a first line of defense response to pathogens called innate or basal immunity. While basal defenses in these organisms are well studied, there is almost a complete lack of understanding of such systems in fungal species, and more specifically, how they are able to detect and mount a defense response upon pathogen attack. Hence, the goal of the present study was to understand how fungi respond to biotic stress by assessing the transcriptional profile of the rice blast pathogen, Magnaporthe oryzae, when challenged with the bacterial antagonist Lysobacter enzymogenes. Based on microscopic observations of interactions between M. oryzae and wild-type L. enzymogenes strain C3, we selected early and intermediate stages represented by time-points of 3 and 9 hours post-inoculation, respectively, to evaluate the fungal transcriptome using RNA-seq. For comparative purposes, we also challenged the fungus with L. enzymogenes mutant strain DCA, previously demonstrated to be devoid of antifungal activity. A comparison of transcriptional data from fungal interactions with the wild-type bacterial strain C3 and the mutant strain DCA revealed 463 fungal genes that were down-regulated during attack by C3; of these genes, 100 were also found to be up-regulated during the interaction with DCA. Functional categorization of genes in this suite included those with roles in carbohydrate metabolism, cellular transport and stress response. One gene in this suite belongs to the CFEM-domain class of fungal proteins. Another CFEM class protein called PTH11 has been previously characterized, and we found that a deletion in this gene caused advanced lesion development by C3 compared to its growth on the wild-type fungus. We discuss the characterization of this suite of 100 genes with respect to their role in the fungal defense response.
Plant innate immunity relies on successful detection of trespassing pathogens through recognizing their microbe-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs) by pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) at the cell surface. We recently reported two rice lysin motif (LysM)-containing proteins, OsLYP4 and OsLYP6, as dual functional PRRs sensing bacterial peptidoglycan (PGN) and fungal chitin. Here we further demonstrated the important roles of OsLYP4 and OsLYP6 in rice defense signaling, as silencing of either LYP impaired the defense marker gene activation induced by either bacterial pathogen Xanthomonas oryzaecola or fungal pathogen Magnaporthe oryzae. Moreover, we found that OsLYP4 and OsLYP6 could form homo- and hetero-dimers, and could interact with CEBiP, suggesting an unexpected complexity of chitin perception in rice.
lysin motif-containing proteins; rice; innate immunity; defense-related gene; pattern recognition receptors
Rice blast is the most threatening disease to cultivated rice. Magnaporthe oryzae, its causal agent, is likely to encounter environmental challenges during invasive growth in its host plants that require shifts in gene expression to establish a compatible interaction. Here, we tested the hypothesis that gene expression patterns during in planta invasive growth are similar to in vitro stress conditions, such as nutrient limitation, temperature up shift and oxidative stress, and determined which condition most closely mimicked that of in planta invasive growth. Gene expression data were collected from these in vitro experiments and compared to fungal gene expression during the invasive growth phase at 72 hours post-inoculation in compatible interactions on two grass hosts, rice and barley.
We identified 4,973 genes that were differentially expressed in at least one of the in planta and in vitro stress conditions when compared to fungal mycelia grown in complete medium, which was used as reference. From those genes, 1,909 showed similar expression patterns between at least one of the in vitro stresses and rice and/or barley. Hierarchical clustering of these 1,909 genes showed three major clusters in which in planta conditions closely grouped with the nutrient starvation conditions. Out of these 1,909 genes, 55 genes and 129 genes were induced and repressed in all treatments, respectively. Functional categorization of the 55 induced genes revealed that most were either related to carbon metabolism, membrane proteins, or were involved in oxidoreduction reactions. The 129 repressed genes showed putative roles in vesicle trafficking, signal transduction, nitrogen metabolism, or molecular transport.
These findings suggest that M. oryzae is likely primarily coping with nutrient-limited environments at the invasive growth stage 72 hours post-inoculation, and not with oxidative or temperature stresses.
A filamentous fungus, Magnaporthe oryzae, is a causal agent of rice blast disease, which is one of the most serious diseases affecting cultivated rice, Oryza sativa. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying both rice defense and fungal attack are not yet fully understood. Extensive past studies have characterized many infection-responsive genes in the pathogen and host plant, separately. To understand the plant-pathogen interaction comprehensively, it is valuable to monitor the gene expression profiles of both interacting organisms simultaneously in the same infected plant tissue. Although the host-pathogen interaction during the initial infection stage is important for the establishment of infection, the detection of fungal gene expression in infected leaves at the stage has been difficult because very few numbers of fungal cells are present. Using the emerging RNA-Seq technique, which has a wide dynamic range for expression analyses, we analyzed the mixed transcriptome of rice and blast fungus in infected leaves at 24 hours post-inoculation, which is the point when the primary infection hyphae penetrate leaf epidermal cells. We demonstrated that our method detected the gene expression of both the host plant and pathogen simultaneously in the same infected leaf blades in natural infection conditions without any artificial treatments. The upregulation of 240 fungal transcripts encoding putative secreted proteins was observed, suggesting that these candidates of fungal effector genes may play important roles in initial infection processes. The upregulation of transcripts encoding glycosyl hydrolases, cutinases and LysM domain-containing proteins were observed in the blast fungus, whereas pathogenesis-related and phytoalexin biosynthetic genes were upregulated in rice. Furthermore, more drastic changes in expression were observed in the incompatible interactions compared with the compatible ones in both rice and blast fungus at this stage. Our mixed transcriptome analysis is useful for the simultaneous elucidation of the tactics of host plant defense and pathogen attack.
Infection of plants by pathogens and the subsequent disease development involves substantial changes in the biochemistry and physiology of both partners. Analysis of genes that are expressed during these interactions represents a powerful strategy to obtain insights into the molecular events underlying these changes. We have employed expressed sequence tag (EST) analysis to identify rice genes involved in defense responses against infection by the blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae and fungal genes involved in infectious growth within the host during a compatible interaction.
A cDNA library was constructed with RNA from rice leaves (Oryza sativa cv. Hwacheong) infected with M. oryzae strain KJ201. To enrich for fungal genes, subtraction library using PCR-based suppression subtractive hybridization was constructed with RNA from infected rice leaves as a tester and that from uninfected rice leaves as the driver. A total of 4,148 clones from two libraries were sequenced to generate 2,302 non-redundant ESTs. Of these, 712 and 1,562 ESTs could be identified to encode fungal and rice genes, respectively. To predict gene function, Gene Ontology (GO) analysis was applied, with 31% and 32% of rice and fungal ESTs being assigned to GO terms, respectively. One hundred uniESTs were found to be specific to fungal infection EST. More than 80 full-length fungal cDNA sequences were used to validate ab initio annotated gene model of M. oryzae genome sequence.
This study shows the power of ESTs to refine genome annotation and functional characterization. Results of this work have advanced our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underpinning fungal-plant interactions and formed the basis for new hypothesis.
Magnaporthe grisea is responsible for a devastating fungal disease of rice called blast. Current control of this disease relies on resistant rice cultivars that recognize M. grisea signals corresponding to specific secreted proteins encoded by avirulence genes. The M. grisea ACE1 avirulence gene differs from others, since it controls the biosynthesis of a secondary metabolite likely recognized by rice cultivars carrying the Pi33 resistance gene. Using a transcriptional fusion between ACE1 promoter and eGFP, we showed that ACE1 is only expressed in appressoria during fungal penetration into rice and barley leaves, onion skin, and cellophane membranes. ACE1 is almost not expressed in appressoria differentiated on Teflon and Mylar artificial membranes. ACE1 expression is not induced by cellophane and plant cell wall components, demonstrating that it does not require typical host plant compounds. Cyclic AMP (cAMP) signaling mutants ΔcpkA and Δmac1 sum1-99 and tetraspanin mutant Δpls1::hph differentiate melanized appressoria with normal turgor but are unable to penetrate host plant leaves. ACE1 is normally expressed in these mutants, suggesting that it does not require cAMP signaling or a successful penetration event. ACE1 is not expressed in appressoria of the buf1::hph mutant defective for melanin biosynthesis and appressorial turgor. The addition of hyperosmotic solutes to buf1::hph appressoria restores appressorial development and ACE1 expression. Treatments of young wild-type appressoria with actin and tubulin inhibitors reduce both fungal penetration and ACE1 expression. These experiments suggest that ACE1 appressorium-specific expression does not depend on host plant signals but is connected to the onset of appressorium-mediated penetration.
The mutualism pattern of the dark septate endophyte (DSE) Harpophora oryzae in rice roots and its biocontrol potential in rice blast disease caused by Magnaporthe oryzae were investigated. Fluorescent protein-expressing H. oryzae was used to monitor the colonization pattern. Hyphae invaded from the epidermis to the inner cortex, but not into the root stele. Fungal colonization increased with root tissue maturation, showing no colonization in the meristematic zone, slight colonization in the elongation zone, and heavy colonization in the differentiation zone. H. oryzae adopted a biotrophic lifestyle in roots accompanied by programmed cell death. Real-time PCR facilitated the accurate quantification of fungal growth and the respective plant response. The biocontrol potential of H. oryzae was visualized by inoculation with eGFP-tagged M. oryzae in rice. H. oryzae protected rice from M. oryzae root invasion by the accumulation of H2O2 and elevated antioxidative capacity. H. oryzae also induced systemic resistance against rice blast. This systemic resistance was mediated by the OsWRKY45-dependent salicylic acid (SA) signaling pathway, as indicated by the strongly upregulated expression of OsWRKY45. The colonization pattern of H. oryzae was consistent with the typical characteristics of DSEs. H. oryzae enhanced local resistance by reactive oxygen species (ROS) and high antioxidative level and induced OsWRKY45-dependent SA-mediated systemic resistance against rice blast.
R gene-mediated resistance is one of the most effective mechanisms of immunity against pathogens in plants. To date some components that regulate the primary steps of plant immunity have been isolated, however, the molecular dissection of defense signaling downstream of the R proteins remains to be completed. In addition, R genes are known to be highly variable, however, the molecular mechanisms responsible for this variability remain obscure.
To identify novel factors required for R gene-mediated resistance in rice, we used rice insertional mutant lines, induced by the endogenous retrotransposon Tos17, in a genetic screening involving the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae. We inoculated 41,119 mutant lines with the fungus using a high throughput procedure, and identified 86 mutant lines with diminished resistance. A genome analysis revealed that 72 of the 86 lines contained mutations in a gene encoding a nucleotide binding site (NBS) and leucine rich repeat (LRR) domain-containing (NBS-LRR) protein. A genetic complementation analysis and a pathogenesis assay demonstrated that this NBS-LRR gene encodes Pish, which confers resistance against races of M. oryzae containing avrPish. The other 14 lines have intact copies of the Pish gene, suggesting that they may contain mutations in the signaling components downstream of Pish. The genome analysis indicated that Pish and its neighboring three NBS-LRR genes are high similar to one another and are tandemly located. An in silico analysis of a Tos17 flanking sequence database revealed that this region is a "hot spot" for insertion. Intriguingly, the insertion sites are not distributed evenly among these four NBS-LRR genes, despite their similarity at the sequence and expression levels.
In this work we isolated the R gene Pish, and identified several other mutants involved in the signal transduction required for Pish-mediated resistance. These results indicate that our genetic approach is efficient and useful for unveiling novel aspects of defense signaling in rice. Furthermore, our data provide experimental evidence that R gene clusters have the potential to be highly preferred targets for transposable element insertions in plant genomes. Based on this finding, a possible mechanism underlying the high variability of R genes is discussed.
Analysis of genome-wide gene-expression changes during spore germination and appressorium formation in Magnaporthe oryzae revealed that protein degradation and amino-acid metabolism are essential for appressorium formation and subsequent infection.
Rice blast disease is caused by the filamentous Ascomycetous fungus Magnaporthe oryzae and results in significant annual rice yield losses worldwide. Infection by this and many other fungal plant pathogens requires the development of a specialized infection cell called an appressorium. The molecular processes regulating appressorium formation are incompletely understood.
We analyzed genome-wide gene expression changes during spore germination and appressorium formation on a hydrophobic surface compared to induction by cAMP. During spore germination, 2,154 (approximately 21%) genes showed differential expression, with the majority being up-regulated. During appressorium formation, 357 genes were differentially expressed in response to both stimuli. These genes, which we refer to as appressorium consensus genes, were functionally grouped into Gene Ontology categories. Overall, we found a significant decrease in expression of genes involved in protein synthesis. Conversely, expression of genes associated with protein and amino acid degradation, lipid metabolism, secondary metabolism and cellular transportation exhibited a dramatic increase. We functionally characterized several differentially regulated genes, including a subtilisin protease (SPM1) and a NAD specific glutamate dehydrogenase (Mgd1), by targeted gene disruption. These studies revealed hitherto unknown findings that protein degradation and amino acid metabolism are essential for appressorium formation and subsequent infection.
We present the first comprehensive genome-wide transcript profile study and functional analysis of infection structure formation by a fungal plant pathogen. Our data provide novel insight into the underlying molecular mechanisms that will directly benefit efforts to identify fungal pathogenicity factors and aid the development of new disease management strategies.