Published on Thu Sep 23 2021

The necrotrophic effector ToxA from Parastagonospora nodorum interacts with wheat NHL proteins to facilitate Tsn1-mediated necrosis

Dagvadorj, B., Outram, M., Williams, S. J., Solomon, P. S.

The plant pathogen Parastagonospora nodorum secretes necrotrophic effectors to promote disease. These effectors induce cell death on wheat cultivars carrying dominant susceptibility genes in an inverse gene-for-gene manner. The molecular mechanisms underpinning these interactions and resulting cell death remain unclear.

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Abstract

The plant pathogen Parastagonospora nodorum secretes necrotrophic effectors to promote disease. These effectors induce cell death on wheat cultivars carrying dominant susceptibility genes in an inverse gene-for-gene manner. However, the molecular mechanisms underpinning these interactions and resulting cell death remain unclear. Here, we used a yeast-two-hybrid library approach to identify wheat proteins that interact with the necrotrophic effector ToxA. Using this strategy, we identified an interaction between ToxA and a wheat transmembrane NDR/HIN1-like protein (TaNHL10) and confirmed the interaction using in-planta co-immunoprecipitation and confocal microscopy co-localization analysis. We showed that the C-terminus of TaNHL10 is extracellular whilst the N-terminus was localized in the cytoplasm. Further analyses using yeast-two-hybrid and confocal microscopy co-localization showed that ToxA interacts with the C-terminal LEA2 extracellular domain of TaNHL10. Random mutagenesis was then used to identify a ToxA mutant, ToxAN109D, which was unable to interact with TaNHL10 in yeast-two-hybrid assays. Subsequent heterologous expression and purification of ToxAN109D in Nicotiania benthamiana revealed that the mutated protein was unable to induce necrosis on Tsn1- dominant wheat cultivars confirming that the interaction of ToxA with TaNHL10 is required to induce cell death. Collectively, these data advance our understanding on how ToxA induces cell death during infection and further highlights the importance of host cell surface interactions in necrotrophic pathosystems.