PloS one

A Virulence Essential CRN Effector of Phytophthora capsici Suppresses Host Defense and Induces Cell Death in Plant Nucleus.

PMID 26011314


Phytophthora capsici is a soil-borne plant pathogen with a wide range of hosts. The pathogen secretes a large array of effectors during infection of host plants, including Crinkler (CRN) effectors. However, it remains largely unknown on the roles of these effectors in virulence especially in P. capsici. In this study, we identified a cell death-inducing CRN effector PcCRN4 using agroinfiltration approach. Transient expression of PcCRN4 gene induced cell death in N. benthamiana, N. tabacum and Solanum lycopersicum. Overexpression of the gene in N. benthamiana enhanced susceptibility to P. capsici. Subcellular localization results showed that PcCRN4 localized to the plant nucleus, and the localization was required for both of its cell death-inducing activity and virulent function. Silencing PcCRN4 gene in P. capsici significantly reduced pathogen virulence. The expression of the pathogenesis-related gene PR1b in N. benthamiana was significantly induced when plants were inoculated with PcCRN4-silenced P. capsici transformant compared to the wilt-type. Callose deposits were also abundant at sites inoculated with PcCRN4-silenced transformant, indicating that silencing of PcCRN4 in P. capsici reduced the ability of the pathogen to suppress plant defenses. Transcriptions of cell death-related genes were affected when PcCRN4-silenced line were inoculated on Arabidopsis thaliana, suggesting that PcCRN4 may induce cell death by manipulating cell death-related genes. Overall, our results demonstrate that PcCRN4 is a virulence essential effector and it needs target to the plant nucleus to suppress plant immune responses.