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1.  Ras GTPase Activating Protein CoIra1 Is Involved in Infection-Related Morphogenesis by Regulating cAMP and MAPK Signaling Pathways through CoRas2 in Colletotrichum orbiculare 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e109045.
Colletotrichum orbiculare is the causative agent of anthracnose disease on cucurbitaceous plants. Several signaling pathways, including cAMP–PKA and mitogen-activating protein kinase (MAPK) pathways are involved in the infection-related morphogenesis and pathogenicity of C. orbiculare. However, upstream regulators of these pathways for this species remain unidentified. In this study, CoIRA1, encoding RAS GTPase activating protein, was identified by screening the Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation (AtMT) mutant, which was defective in the pathogenesis of C. orbiculare. The coira1 disrupted mutant showed an abnormal infection-related morphogenesis and attenuated pathogenesis. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Ira1/2 inactivates Ras1/2, which activates adenylate cyclase, leading to the synthesis of cAMP. Increase in the intracellular cAMP levels in coira1 mutants and dominant active forms of CoRAS2 introduced transformants indicated that CoIra1 regulates intracellular cAMP levels through CoRas2. Moreover, the phenotypic analysis of transformants that express dominant active form CoRAS2 in the comekk1 mutant or a dominant active form CoMEKK1 in the coras2 mutant indicated that CoRas2 regulates the MAPK CoMekk1–Cmk1 signaling pathway. The CoRas2 localization pattern in vegetative hyphae of the coira1 mutant was similar to that of the wild-type, expressing a dominant active form of RFP–CoRAS2. Moreover, we demonstrated that bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) signals between CoIra1 and CoRas2 were detected in the plasma membrane of vegetative hyphae. Therefore, it is likely that CoIra1 negatively regulates CoRas2 in vegetative hyphae. Furthermore, cytological analysis of the localization of CoIraI and CoRas2 revealed the dynamic cellular localization of the proteins that leads to proper assembly of F-actin at appressorial pore required for successful penetration peg formation through the pore. Thus, our results indicated that CoIra1 is involved in infection-related morphogenesis and pathogenicity by proper regulation of cAMP and MAPK signaling pathways through CoRas2.
PMCID: PMC4183519  PMID: 25275394
2.  Overexpression of VOZ2 confers biotic stress tolerance but decreases abiotic stress resistance in Arabidopsis 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2013;8(3):e23358.
VOZ (vascular plant one zinc-finger protein) is a plant specific one-zinc finger type transcriptional activator, which is highly conserved through land plant evolution. We have previously shown that loss-of-function mutations in VOZ1 and VOZ2 showed increased cold and drought stress tolerances whereas decreased biotic stress resistance in Arabidopsis. Here, we demonstrate that transgenic plants overexpressing VOZ2 impairs freezing and drought stress tolerances but increases resistance to a fungal pathogen, Colletoricum higginsianum. Consistent with changes in the tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses, the expression of marker genes for these stresses is significantly altered compared with those of the wild-type plant. These results indicate that a overexpression of VOZ2 confers biotic stress tolerance but impairs abiotic stress tolerances in Arabidopsis.
PMCID: PMC3676503  PMID: 23299334
Arabidopsis thaliana; VOZ; abiotic stress; abscisic acid; biotic stress; overexpression; transcription factor,
3.  Breaking restricted taxonomic functionality by dual resistance genes 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2013;8(6):e24244.
NB-LRR-type disease resistance (R) genes have been used in traditional breeding programs for crop protection. However, functional transfer of NB-LRR-type R genes to plants in taxonomically distinct families to establish pathogen resistance has not been successful. Here we demonstrate that a pair of Arabidopsis (Brassicaceae) NB-LRR-type R genes, RPS4 and RRS1, properly function in two other Brassicaceae, Brassica rapa and B. napus, but also in two Solanaceae, Nicotiana benthamiana and tomato (Solanum lycopersicum). The solanaceous plants transformed with RPS4/RRS1 confer bacterial effector-specific immunity responses. Furthermore, RPS4 and RRS1, which confer resistance to a fungal pathogen Colletotrichum higginsianum in Brassicaceae, also protect against Colletotrichum orbiculare in cucumber (Cucurbitaceae). Thus the successful transfer of two R genes at the family level overcomes restricted taxonomic functionality. This implies that the downstream components of R genes must be highly conserved and interfamily utilization of R genes can be a powerful strategy to combat pathogens.
PMCID: PMC3907395  PMID: 23518587
Colletotrichum higginsianum; Pseudomonas syringae; R gene; RPS4; RRS1; Ralstonia solanacearum; restricted taxonomic functionality
4.  Interfamily Transfer of Dual NB-LRR Genes Confers Resistance to Multiple Pathogens 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e55954.
A major class of disease resistance (R) genes which encode nucleotide binding and leucine rich repeat (NB-LRR) proteins have been used in traditional breeding programs for crop protection. However, it has been difficult to functionally transfer NB-LRR-type R genes in taxonomically distinct families. Here we demonstrate that a pair of Arabidopsis (Brassicaceae) NB-LRR-type R genes, RPS4 and RRS1, properly function in two other Brassicaceae, Brassica rapa and Brassica napus, but also in two Solanaceae, Nicotiana benthamiana and tomato (Solanum lycopersicum). The solanaceous plants transformed with RPS4/RRS1 confer bacterial effector-specific immunity responses. Furthermore, RPS4 and RRS1, which confer resistance to a fungal pathogen Colletotrichum higginsianum in Brassicaceae, also protect against Colletotrichum orbiculare in cucumber (Cucurbitaceae). Importantly, RPS4/RRS1 transgenic plants show no autoimmune phenotypes, indicating that the NB-LRR proteins are tightly regulated. The successful transfer of two R genes at the family level implies that the downstream components of R genes are highly conserved. The functional interfamily transfer of R genes can be a powerful strategy for providing resistance to a broad range of pathogens.
PMCID: PMC3577827  PMID: 23437080
5.  HvCEBiP, a gene homologous to rice chitin receptor CEBiP, contributes to basal resistance of barley to Magnaporthe oryzae 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:288.
Rice CEBiP recognizes chitin oligosaccharides on the fungal cell surface or released into the plant apoplast, leading to the expression of plant disease resistance against fungal infection. However, it has not yet been reported whether CEBiP is actually required for restricting the growth of fungal pathogens. Here we evaluated the involvement of a putative chitin receptor gene in the basal resistance of barley to the ssd1 mutant of Magnaporthe oryzae, which induces multiple host defense responses.
The mossd1 mutant showed attenuated pathogenicity on barley and appressorial penetration was restricted by the formation of callose papillae at attempted entry sites. When conidial suspensions of mossd1 mutant were spotted onto the leaves of HvCEBiP-silenced plants, small brown necrotic flecks or blast lesions were produced but these lesions did not expand beyond the inoculation site. Wild-type M. oryzae also produced slightly more severe symptoms on the leaves of HvCEBiP-silenced plants. Cytological observation revealed that these lesions resulted from appressorium-mediated penetration into plant epidermal cells.
These results suggest that HvCEBiP is involved in basal resistance against appressorium-mediated infection and that basal resistance might be triggered by the recognition of chitin oligosaccharides derived from M. oryzae.
PMCID: PMC3020183  PMID: 21190588
6.  Colletotrichum: species, ecology and interactions 
The presentations of the Special Interest Group meeting Colletotrichum: species, ecology and interactions, held on 1 August 2010 during IMC9 in Edinburgh, UK, are outlined. Seven research projects, ranged from systematics and population genetics to host-pathogen interactions and genome projects were presented. The meeting revealed that currently major species complexes in the genus Colletotrichum are being revised and the identities of many pathogens clarified on the basis of molecular phylogenies, and that the genomes of four species are sequenced and decoded providing an enormous amount of data that are used to increase our understanding of the biology of Colletotrichum species.
PMCID: PMC3348780  PMID: 22679575
genome sequencing; host-pathogen interaction; identification; pathogenicity; population genetics; systematics
7.  A dual resistance gene system prevents infection by three distinct pathogens 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2009;4(10):954-955.
Colletotrichum higginsianum causes typical anthracnose lesions on the leaves, petioles, and stems of cruciferous plants. Inoculation of Arabidopsis thaliana ecotype Columbia leaves with C. higginsianum results in fungal growth and disease symptoms reminiscent of those induced in other cruciferous plants. We performed map-based cloning and natural variation analysis of 19 A. thaliana ecotypes to identify a dominant resistance locus against C. higginsianum. We found that the A. thaliana RCH2 (for recognition of C. higginsianum) locus encodes two NB-LRR proteins, both of which are required for resistance to C. higginsianum in the A. thaliana ecotype Ws-0. Both proteins are well-characterized R proteins involved in resistance against bacterial pathogens; RRS1 (resistance to Ralstonia solanacearum 1) confers resistance to strain Rs1000 of R. solanacearum and RPS4 to Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato strain DC3000 expressing avrRps4 (Pst-avrRps4). Furthermore, we found that both RRS1-Ws and RPS4-Ws genes are required for resistance to Pst-avrRps4 and to Rs1002 R. solanacearum. We therefore demonstrate that a pair of neighboring genes, RRS1-Ws and RPS4-Ws, function cooperatively as a dual R-gene system against at least three distinct pathogens.
PMCID: PMC2801359  PMID: 19826224
R gene; RPS4; RRS1; Colletotrichum higginsianum; Pseudomonas syringae; Ralstonia solanacearum
8.  Kelch Repeat Protein Clakel2p and Calcium Signaling Control Appressorium Development in Colletotrichum lagenarium▿ †  
Eukaryotic Cell  2007;7(1):102-111.
Kelch repeat proteins are important mediators of fundamental cellular functions and are found in diverse organisms. However, the roles of these proteins in filamentous fungi have not been characterized. We isolated a kelch repeat-encoding gene of Colletotrichum lagenarium ClaKEL2, a Schizosaccharomyces pombe tea1 homologue. Analysis of the clakel2 mutant indicated that ClaKEL2 was required for the establishment of cellular polarity essential for proper morphogenesis of appressoria and that there is a plant signal-specific bypass pathway for appressorium development which circumvents ClaKEL2 function. Clakel2p was localized in the polarized region of growing hyphae and germ tubes, and the localization was disturbed by a microtubule assembly blocker. The clakel2 mutants formed abnormal appressoria, and those appressoria were defective in penetration hypha development into cellulose membranes, an artificial model substrate for fungal infection. Surprisingly, the clakel2 mutants formed normal appressoria on the host plant and retained penetration ability. Normal appressorium formation on the artificial substrate by the clakel2 mutants was restored when cells were incubated in the presence of CaCl2 or exudates from cucumber cotyledon. Furthermore, calcium channel modulators inhibited restoration of normal appressorium formation. These results suggest that there could be a bypass pathway that transduces a plant-derived signal for appressorium development independent of ClaKEL2 and that a calcium signal is involved in this transduction pathway.
PMCID: PMC2224161  PMID: 18039945
9.  Gene Involved in Transcriptional Activation of the hrp Regulatory Gene hrpG in Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae 
Journal of Bacteriology  2006;188(11):4158-4162.
A novel regulatory gene, trh, which is involved in hrp gene expression, is identified in the plant pathogen Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae. In the trh mutant, expression of HrpG, which is a key regulator for hrp gene expression, is reduced both under the in vitro hrp-inducing condition and in planta.
PMCID: PMC1482903  PMID: 16707710
10.  Effects on Promoter Activity of Base Substitutions in the cis-Acting Regulatory Element of HrpXo Regulons in Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae 
Journal of Bacteriology  2005;187(7):2308-2314.
In Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae, the causal agent of bacterial leaf blight of rice, HrpXo is known to be a transcriptional regulator for the hypersensitive response and pathogenicity (hrp) genes. Several HrpXo regulons are preceded by a consensus sequence (TTCGC-N15-TTCGC), called the plant-inducible promoter (PIP) box, which is required for expression of the gene that follows. Thus, the PIP box can be an effective marker for screening HrpXo regulons from the genome database. It is not known, however, whether mutations in the PIP box cause a complete loss of promoter activity. In this study, we introduced base substitutions at each of the consensus nucleotides in the PIP box of the hrpC operon in X. oryzae pv. oryzae, and the promoter activity was examined by using a β-glucuronidase (GUS) reporter gene. Although the GUS activity was generally reduced by base substitutions, several mutated PIP boxes conferred considerable promoter activity. In several cases, even imperfect PIP boxes with two base substitutions retained 20% of the promoter activity found in the nonsubstituted PIP box. We screened HrpXo regulon candidates with an imperfect PIP box obtained from the genome database of X. oryzae pv. oryzae and found that at least two genes preceded by an imperfect PIP box with two base substitutions were actually expressed in an HrpXo-dependent manner. These results indicate that a base substitution in the PIP box is quite permissible for HrpXo-dependent expression and suggest that X. oryzae pv. oryzae may possess more HrpXo regulons than expected.
PMCID: PMC1065236  PMID: 15774873
11.  Evidence for HrpXo-Dependent Expression of Type II Secretory Proteins in Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae 
Journal of Bacteriology  2004;186(5):1374-1380.
Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae is a causal agent of bacterial leaf blight of rice. Recently, an efficient hrp-inducing medium, XOM2, was established for this bacterium. In this medium, more than 10 proteins were secreted from the wild-type strain of X. oryzae pv. oryzae. Many of these proteins disappeared or decreased in amount in culture on XOM2 when incubated with the strain that has a mutation in the hrp regulatory gene. Interestingly, the secretory protein profile of a mutant lacking a type III secretion system (TTSS), components of which are encoded by hrp genes, was similar to that of the wild-type strain except that a few proteins had disappeared. This finding suggests that many HrpXo-dependent secretory proteins are secreted via systems other than the TTSS. By isolating mutant strains lacking a type II secretion system, we examined this hypothesis. As expected, many of the HrpXo-dependent secretory proteins disappeared or decreased when the mutant was cultured in XOM2. By determining the N-terminal amino acid sequence, we identified one of the type II secretory proteins as a cysteine protease homolog, CysP2. Nucleotide sequence analysis revealed that cysP2 has an imperfect plant-inducible-promoter box, a consensus sequence which HrpXo regulons possess in the promoter region, and a deduced signal peptide sequence at the N terminus. By reverse transcription-PCR analysis and examination of the expression of CysP2 by using a plasmid harboring a cysP2::gus fusion gene, HrpXo-dependent expression of CysP2 was confirmed. Here, we reveal that the hrp regulatory gene hrpXo is also involved in the expression of not only hrp genes and type III secretory proteins but also some type II secretory proteins.
PMCID: PMC344398  PMID: 14973015

Results 1-11 (11)