An aphid effector promotes barley susceptibility through suppression of defence gene expression

Carmen Escudero-Martinez, Patricia A. Rodriguez (Lead / Corresponding author), Shan Liu, Pablo A. Santos, Jennifer Stephens, Jorunn Bos (Lead / Corresponding author)

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24 Citations (Scopus)
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Aphids secrete diverse repertoires of effectors into their hosts to promote the infestation process. While “omics”-approaches facilitated the identification and comparison of effector repertoires from a number of aphid species, the functional characterization of these proteins has been limited to dicot (model) plants. The bird cherry-oat aphid Rhopalosiphum padi is a pest of cereal crops, including barley. Here, we extended efforts to characterize aphid effectors with regards to their role in promoting susceptibility to the R. padi-barley interaction. We selected 3 R. padi effectors based on sequences similarity to previously characterized M. persicae effectors and assessed their subcellular localisation, expression, and role in promoting plant susceptibility. Expression of R. padi effectors RpC002 and Rp1 in transgenic barley lines enhanced plant susceptibility to R. padi but not M. persicae, for which barley is a poor host. Characterization of Rp1 transgenic barley lines revealed reduced gene expression of plant hormone signalling genes relevant to plant-aphid interactions, indicating this effector enhances susceptibility by suppressing plant defences in barley. Our data suggests that some aphid effectors specifically function when expressed in host species, and feature activities that benefit their corresponding aphid species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2796-2807
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number9
Early online date28 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2020


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