Retargeting of a plant defense protease by a cyst nematode effector ($) (Plant J)

The nematode infection process in plants involves secreted effector proteins that suppress the host defense mechanisms. However, the molecular interactions in which this is done is yet unclear. Here, Pogorelko et al. characterize the function of 4E02, an effector from the cyst nematode H. schachtii, when expressed in A. thaliana. The transgenic plants showed higher susceptibility to this nematode and the necrotrophic fungus B. cinerea. RD21A is a plant defense protease that is expressed in the vacuole and induces programmed cell death (PCD) as an immune response. Using yeast two-hybrid (Y2H) assays and in vivo bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC), the authors found that 4E02 targets RD21A and re-localizes it to the cytoplasm and nucleus. Activity-based protein profiling revealed the enzyme active form is unaltered by its interaction with 4E02. However, in this new location, RD21A targets different proteins affecting cell wall architecture (confirmed by Y2H and cell wall composition analysis), which impacts nematode virulence. Further related studies could lend to advanced control strategies for pathogenic diseases. (Summary by Ana Valladares) Plant J. 10.1111/tpj.14295