Letter | Published:

Oomycete pathogens encode RNA silencing suppressors

Nature Genetics volume 45, pages 330333 (2013) | Download Citation

Abstract

Effectors are essential virulence proteins produced by a broad range of parasites, including viruses, bacteria, fungi, oomycetes, protozoa, insects and nematodes. Upon entry into host cells, pathogen effectors manipulate specific physiological processes or signaling pathways to subvert host immunity. Most effectors, especially those of eukaryotic pathogens, remain functionally uncharacterized. Here, we show that two effectors from the oomycete plant pathogen Phytophthora sojae suppress RNA silencing in plants by inhibiting the biogenesis of small RNAs. Ectopic expression of these Phytophthora suppressors of RNA silencing enhances plant susceptibility to both a virus and Phytophthora, showing that some eukaryotic pathogens have evolved virulence proteins that target host RNA silencing processes to promote infection. These findings identify RNA silencing suppression as a common strategy used by pathogens across kingdoms to cause disease and are consistent with RNA silencing having key roles in host defense.

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Acknowledgements

We thank B. Tyler (Oregon State University) for providing soybean seeds and ten effector clones. S. Kamoun (The Sainsbury Laboratory) and M. Coffey (University of California, Riverside) kindly provided pGR106 and P. sojae strain P6497, respectively. We are indebted to S.-W. Ding for sharing viral suppressor constructs and thoughtful input. This work was supported by funds from the University of California, Riverside, to W.M. and X.C., National Science Foundation (NSF) grant IOS-0847870 to W.M. and US Department of Agriculture–National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA) grants 2010-04209 and 2008-00694 to X.C. and H.S.J., respectively. L.L. was supported by a fellowship from the China Scholarship Council.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, University of California, Riverside, Riverside, California, USA.

    • Yongli Qiao
    • , Cristina Flores
    • , James Wong
    • , Jinxia Shi
    • , Xianbing Wang
    • , Qijun Xiang
    • , Shushu Jiang
    • , Howard S Judelson
    •  & Wenbo Ma
  2. Center for Plant Cell Biology, University of California, Riverside, Riverside, California, USA.

    • Yongli Qiao
    • , James Wong
    • , Howard S Judelson
    • , Xuemei Chen
    •  & Wenbo Ma
  3. Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, University of California, Riverside, Riverside, California, USA.

    • Lin Liu
    • , Xigang Liu
    •  & Xuemei Chen
  4. College of Life Science and Technology, Xinjiang University, Urumqi, China.

    • Lin Liu
    •  & Fuchun Zhang
  5. Department of Plant Pathology, Nanjing Agriculture University, Nanjing, China.

    • Qin Xiong
    •  & Yuanchao Wang
  6. Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, Riverside, Riverside, California, USA.

    • Xuemei Chen

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Contributions

W.M. and X.C. developed the concept. W.M., X.C., Y.Q., Y.W. and H.S.J. designed the experiments. Y.Q., L.L., Q. Xiong, C.F., J.W., J.S., X.W., X.L., Q. Xiang, S.J. and F.Z. performed the experiments. W.M., X.C. and Y.W. analyzed the data. W.M., X.C., H.S.J., Y.Q., L.L. and Y.W. wrote the manuscript. W.M. conceived, directed and coordinated the project.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Wenbo Ma.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/ng.2525