The potato cyst nematode Globodera pallida acquires all of its nutrients from an elaborate feeding site that it establishes in a host plant root. Normal development of the root cells is re-programmed in a process coordinated by secreted nematode effector proteins. The biological function of the G. pallida GpIA7 effector was investigated in this study. GpIA7 is specifically expressed in the subventral pharyngeal glands of pre-parasitic stage nematodes. Ectopic expression of GpIA7 in potato plants affected plant growth and development, suggesting a potential role for this effector in feeding site establishment. Potato plants overexpressing GpIA7 were shorter, with reduced tuber weight and delayed flowering. We provide evidence that GpIA7 associates with the plant growth regulator StEBP1 (ErbB-3 epidermal growth factor receptor-binding protein 1). GpIA7 modulates the regulatory function of StEBP1, altering the expression level of downstream target genes, including ribonucleotide reductase 2, cyclin D3;1, and retinoblastoma related 1, which are down-regulated in plants overexpressing GpIA7. We provide an insight into the molecular mechanism used by the nematode to manipulate the host cell cycle and demonstrate that this may rely, at least in part, on hindering the function of host EBP1.
- Cell cycle
- cyclin D3;1