Phytophthora infestans RXLR effectors target parallel steps in an immune signal transduction pathway

Yajuan Ren, Miles Armstrong, Yetong Qi, Hazel McLellan, Cheng Zhong, Bowen Du, Paul R. J. Birch, Zhendong Tian

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33 Citations (Scopus)
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The potato ( Solanum tuberosum) blight pathogen Phytophthora infestans delivers Arg-X-Leu-Arg (RXLR) effector proteins into host cells to subvert plant immune responses and promote colonization. We show that transient expression and stable transgenic expression of the RXLR effector Pi22926 in Nicotiana benthamiana promotes leaf colonization by P. infestans. Pi22926 suppresses cell death triggered by coexpression of the Cladosporium fulvum avirulence protein Avr4 and the tomato ( Solanum lycopersicum) resistance protein Cf4. Pi22926 interacts with a potato mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase, StMAP3Kβ2, in the nucleoplasm. Virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) of the ortholog NbMAP3Kβ2 in N. benthamiana enhances P. infestans colonization and attenuates Cf4/Avr4-induced cell death, indicating that this host protein is a positive regulator of immunity. Cell death induced by Cf4/Avr4 is dependent on NbMAP3Kε and NbMAP3Kβ2, indicating that these MAP3Ks function in the same signaling pathway. VIGS of NbMAP3Kβ2 does not compromise cell death triggered by overexpression of MAP3Kε. Similarly, VIGS of NbMAP3Kε does not attenuate cell death triggered by MAP3Kβ2, demonstrating that these MAP3K proteins function in parallel. In agreement, Pi22926 or another RXLR effector, PexRD2, only suppresses cell death triggered by expression of StMAP3Kβ2 or StMAP3Kε, respectively. Our data reveal that two P. infestans effectors, PexRD2 and Pi22926, promote P. infestans colonization by targeting MAP3K proteins that act in parallel in the same signal transduction pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2227-2239
Number of pages13
JournalPlant Physiology
Issue number4
Early online date19 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


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