Hydathodes are water pores found on leaves of a wide range of vascular plants and are the sites of guttation. We report here on the detailed anatomy of cauliflower and Arabidopsis hydathodes. Hydathode surface presents pores resembling stomata giving access to large cavities. Beneath, the epithem is composed of a lacunar and highly vascularized parenchyma offering a direct connection between leaf surface and xylem vessels. Arabidopsis hydathode pores were responsive to ABA and light similar to stomata. The flg22 flagellin peptide, a well-characterized elicitor of plant basal immunity, did not induce closure of hydathode pores in contrast to stomata. Because hydathodes are natural infection routes for several pathogens, we investigated hydathode infection by the adapted vascular phytopathogenic bacterium Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris (Xcc), the causal agent of black rot disease of Brassicaceae. Microscopic observations of hydathodes six days post inoculation indicated a digestion of the epithem cells and a high bacterial multiplication. Post-invasive immunity was shown to limit pathogen growth in the epithem and is actively suppressed by the type III secretion system and its effector proteins. Altogether, these results give a detailed anatomic description of Brassicaceae hydathodes and highlight the efficient use of this tissue as an initial niche for subsequent vascular systemic dissemination of Xcc in distant plant tissues.
... 10% de ces espèces sont endémiques, soit 16 773 espèces pour lesquelles la France est seule garante de leur conservation. A l'inverse, la France recense 76 des 100 espèces envahissantes parmi les plus nuisibles du monde. Chaque année, 600 espèces nouvelles pour la science sont décrites sur le territoire national.
Growing demographic trends require sustainable technologies to improve quality and yield of future food productions. However, there is uncertainty about plant protection strategies in many agro-ecosystems. Pests, diseases, and weeds are overwhelmingly controlled by chemicals which pose health risks and cause other undesirable effects. Therefore, an increasing concern on control measures emerged in recent years. Many chemicals became questioned with regard to their sustainability and are (or will be) banned. Alternative management tools are studied, relying on biological, and low impact solutions.
This Research Topic concerns microbial biocontrol agents, root-associated microbiomes, and rhizosphere networks. Understanding how they interact or respond to (a) biotic environmental cues is instrumental for an effective and sustainable impact. The rhizosphere is in this regard a fundamental object of study, because of its role in plant productivity.
Although interest in animal pathogenic oomycetes is increasing, the molecular basis mediating oomycete-animal relationships remains virtually unknown. Crinkler (CRN) genes, which have been traditionally associated with the cytotoxic activity displayed by plant pathogenic oomycetes, were recently detected in transcriptome sequences from the entomopathogenic oomycete Lagenidium giganteum, suggesting that these genes may represent virulence factors conserved in both animal and plant pathogenic oomycetes. In order to further characterize the L. giganteum pathogenome, an on-going genomic survey was mined to reveal novel putative virulence factors, including canonical oomycete effectors Crinkler 13 (CRN13) orthologs. These novel sequences provided a basis to initiate gene expression analyses and determine if the proposed L. giganteum virulence factors are differentially expressed in the presence of mosquito larvae (Aedes aegypti). Sequence analyses revealed that L. giganteum express CRN13 transcripts. The predicted proteins, like other L. giganteum CRNs, contained a conserved LYLA motif at the N terminal, but did not display signal peptides. In contrast, other potential virulence factors, such as Glycoside Hydrolases family 20 (hexosaminidase) and 37 (trehalase) proteins (GH20 and GH37), contained identifiable signal peptides. Genome mining demonstrated that GH20 genes are absent from phytopathogenic oomycete genomes, and that the L. giganteum GH20 sequence is the only reported peronosporalean GH20 gene. All other oomycete GH20 homologs were retrieved from animal pathogenic, saprolegnialean genomes. Furthermore, phylogenetic analyses demonstrated that saprolegnialean and peronosporalean GH20 protein sequences clustered in unrelated clades. The saprolegnialean GH20 sequences appeared as a strongly supported, monophyletic group nested within an arthropod-specific clade, suggesting that this gene was acquired via a lateral gene transfer event from an insect or crustacean genome. In contrast, the L. giganteum GH20 protein sequence appeared as a sister taxon to a plant-specific clade that included exochitinases with demonstrated insecticidal activities. Finally, gene expression analyses demonstrated that the L. giganteum GH20 gene expression level is significantly modulated in the presence of mosquito larvae. In agreement with the protein secretion predictions, CRN transcripts did not show any differential expression. These results identified GH20 enzymes, and not CRNs, as potential pathogenicity factors shared by all animal pathogenic oomycetes.
Most motile bacteria use a flagellum to move. The extracellular components of flagella are secreted by their own Type 3 Secretion System (T3SS). The non-flagellar T3SS (NF-T3SS), also named injectisome, includes many proteins that are homologous to flagellar components. NF-T3SSs are employed by many plant and animal pathogens to deliver effectors to host cells, including toxins. NF-T3SSs are complex protein machineries with >15 components that connect bacterial cell envelopes to eukaryotic cell membranes, including the intervening extracellular space. In this study, we designed computational tools to distinguish flagella and NF-T3SSs from other bacterial protein sequences. We show that NF-T3SSs evolved from the flagellum by a series of genetic deletions, innovations, and recruitments of components from other cellular structures. Our evolutionary analysis suggests that NF-T3SSs then quickly adapted to different eukaryotic cells while maintaining a core structure that remains highly similar to the flagellum. This is an example of evolutionary tinkering where a complex structure arises by exaptation, the recruitment of elements that evolved initially for other functions in other cellular structures.
Bacterial microcolonies with heterogeneous sizes are formed during colonization of Phaseolus vulgaris by Pseudomonas syringae. Heterogeneous expression of structural and regulatory components of the P. syringae type III secretion system (T3SS), essential for colonization of the host apoplast and disease development, is likewise detected within the plant apoplast. T3SS expression is bistable in the homogeneous environment of nutrient-limited T3SS-inducing medium, suggesting that subpopulation formation is not a response to different environmental cues. T3SS bistability is reversible, indicating a non-genetic origin, and the T3SSHIGH and T3SSLOW subpopulations show differences in virulence. T3SS bistability requires the transcriptional activator HrpL, the double negative regulatory loop established by HrpV and HrpG, and may be enhanced through a positive feedback loop involving HrpA, the main component of the T3SS pilus. To our knowledge, this is the first example of phenotypic heterogeneity in the expression of virulence determinants during colonization of a non-mammalian host.
The acquisition of virulence-related genes through horizontal gene transfer can modify the pathogenic profiles of strains and lead to the emergence of new diseases. Xanthomonas arboricola is a bacterial species largely known for the damage it causes to stone and nut fruit trees worldwide. In addition to these host-specific populations called pathovars, many nonpathogenic strains have been identified in this species. Their evolutionary significance in the context of pathogen emergence is unknown. We looked at seven housekeeping genes amplified from 187 pathogenic and nonpathogenic strains isolated from various plants worldwide to analyze population genetics and recombination dynamics. We also examined the dynamics of the gains and losses of genes associated with life history traits (LHTs) during X. arboricola evolution. We discovered that X. arboricola presents an epidemic population structure. Successful pathovars of trees (i.e. pruni, corylina and juglandis) are epidemic clones whose emergence appears to be linked to the acquisition of eight genes coding for Type III effectors. The other strains of this species are part of a recombinant network, within which LHT-associated genes might have been lost. We suggest that nonpathogenic strains, because of their high genetic diversity and propensity for recombination, may promote the emergence of pathogenic strains.
Plant pathogenic bacteria of the genus Xanthomonas possess transcription activator-like effectors (TALEs) that activate transcription of disease susceptibility genes in the host, inducing a state of disease. Here we report that some isolates of the rice pathogen Xanthomonas oryzae use truncated versions of TALEs (which we term interfering TALEs, or iTALEs) to overcome disease resistance. In comparison with typical TALEs, iTALEs lack a transcription activation domain but retain nuclear localization motifs and are expressed from genes that were previously considered pseudogenes. We show that the rice gene Xa1, encoding a nucleotide-binding leucine-rich repeat protein, confers resistance against X. oryzae isolates by recognizing multiple TALEs. However, the iTALEs present in many isolates interfere with the otherwise broad-spectrum resistance conferred by Xa1. Our findings illustrate how bacterial effectors that trigger disease resistance in the host can evolve to interfere with the resistance process and, thus, promote disease.
Understanding the processes that shaped contemporary pathogen populations in agricultural landscapes is quite important to define appropriate management strategies and to support crop improvement efforts.
Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri (X. citri), causal agent of citrus canker, uses Transcription Activator-Like Effectors (TALEs) as major pathogenicity factors. TALEs, which are delivered into plant cells through the type III secretion system (T3SS), interact with Effector Binding Elements (EBEs) in host genomes to activate expression of downstream susceptibility genes to promote disease. Predictably, TALEs bind EBEs in host promoters via known combinations of TALE amino acids to DNA bases known as the TALE code. We introduced 14 EBEs, matching to distinct X. citri TALEs, into the promoter of the pepper Bs3 gene (ProBs31EBE) and fused this engineered promoter with multiple EBEs (ProBs314EBE) to either the GUS reporter gene or the coding sequence (cds) of the pepper gene, Bs3. TALE induced expression of the Bs3 cds in citrus leaves resulted in no visible HR. Therefore, we utilized a different approach in which ProBs31EBE and ProBs314EBE were fused to the Xanthomonas gene, avrGf1, which encodes a bacterial effector that elicits a hypersensitive response (HR) in grapefruit and sweet orange. We demonstrate in transient assays that activation of ProBs314EBE by X. citri TALEs is T3SS dependent and that expression of AvrGf1 triggers HR and correlates with reduced bacterial growth. We further demonstrated that all tested virulent X. citri strains from diverse geographic locations activated ProBs314EBE. TALEs are essential for virulence of X. citri strains and, because the engineered promoter traps are activated by multiple TALEs, this concept has potential to confer broad-spectrum, durable resistance to citrus canker in stably transformed plants.
All filamentous microbes produce and release a wide range of glycans, which are essential determinants of microbe–microbe and microbe–host interactions. Major cell wall constituents, such as chitin and β-glucans, are elicitors of host immune responses. The widespread capacity for glycan perception in plants has driven the evolution of various strategies that help filamentous microbes to evade detection. Common strategies include structural and chemical modifications of cell wall components as well as the secretion of effector proteins that suppress chitin- and β-glucan-triggered immune responses. Thus, the necessity to avoid glycan-triggered immunity represents a driving force in the convergent evolution of filamentous microbes towards its suppression.
Research into the origins of food plants has led to the recognition that specific geographical regions around the world have been of particular importance to the development of agricultural crops. Yet the relative contributions of these different regions in the context of current food systems have not been quantified. Here we determine the origins (‘primary regions of diversity’) of the crops comprising the food supplies and agricultural production of countries worldwide. We estimate the degree to which countries use crops from regions of diversity other than their own (‘foreign crops’), and quantify changes in this usage over the past 50 years. Countries are highly interconnected with regard to primary regions of diversity of the crops they cultivate and/or consume. Foreign crops are extensively used in food supplies (68.7% of national food supplies as a global mean are derived from foreign crops) and production systems (69.3% of crops grown are foreign). Foreign crop usage has increased significantly over the past 50 years, including in countries with high indigenous crop diversity. The results provide a novel perspective on the ongoing globalization of food systems worldwide, and bolster evidence for the importance of international collaboration on genetic resource conservation and exchange.
Bacterial Blight (BB) and Bacterial Leaf Streak (BLS) are important rice diseases caused, respectively, by Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo) and Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzicola (Xoc). In both bacteria, Transcription Activator-Like (TAL) effectors are major virulence determinants that act by transactivating host genes downstream of Effector-Binding Elements (EBEs) bound in a sequence specific manner. Resistance to Xoo is mostly related to TAL effectors action, either by polymorphisms that prevent induction of susceptibility (S) genes or by executor (R) genes with EBEs embedded in their promoter and that induce cell death and resistance. For Xoc, no resistance sources are known in rice. Here, we investigated whether the recognition of effectors by nucleotide-binding and leucine rich repeat domain immune receptors (NLRs), the most widespread resistance mechanism in plants, is also able to stop BB and BLS. In one instance, transgenic rice lines harboring the AVR1-CO39 effector gene from the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae, under the control of an inducible promoter, were challenged with transgenic Xoo and Xoc strains carrying a TAL effector designed to transactivate the inducible promoter. This induced AVR1-CO39 expression and triggered BB and BLS resistance when the corresponding Pi-CO39 resistance locus was present. In a second example, transactivation of an auto-active NLR by Xoo-delivered designer TAL effectors resulted in BB resistance, demonstrating that NLR-triggered immune responses efficiently control Xoo. This forms the foundation for future BB and BLS disease control strategies whereupon endogenous TAL effectors will target synthetic promoter regions of Avr or NLR executor genes.
Mathilde Hutin, Stella Césari, Véronique Chalvon, Corinne Michel, Tuan Tu Tran, Jens Boch, Ralf Koebnik, Boris Szurek and Thomas Kroj
Multicellular eukaryotes coevolve with microbial pathogens, which exert strong selective pressure on the immune systems of their hosts. Plants and animals use intracellular proteins of the nucleotide-binding domain, leucine-rich repeat (NLR) superfamily to detect many types of microbial pathogens. The NLR domain architecture likely evolved independently and convergently in each kingdom, and the molecular mechanisms of pathogen detection by plant and animal NLRs have long been considered to be distinct. However, microbial recognition mechanisms overlap, and it is now possible to discern important key trans-kingdom principles of NLR-dependent immune function. Here, we attempt to articulate these principles. We propose that the NLR architecture has evolved for pathogen-sensing in diverse organisms because of its utility as a tightly folded “hair trigger” device into which a virtually limitless number of microbial detection platforms can be integrated. Recent findings suggest means to rationally design novel recognition capabilities to counter disease.
Stomatal opening and closure depends on changes in turgor pressure acting within guard cells to alter cell shape . The extent of these shape changes is limited by the mechanical properties of the cells, which will be largely dependent on the structure of the cell walls. Although it has long been observed that guard cells are anisotropic due to differential thickening and the orientation of cellulose microfibrils , our understanding of the composition of the cell wall that allows them to undergo repeated swelling and deflation remains surprisingly poor. Here, we show that the walls of guard cells are rich in un-esterified pectins. We identify a pectin methylesterase gene, PME6, which is highly expressed in guard cells and required for stomatal function. pme6-1 mutant guard cells have walls enriched in methyl-esterified pectin and show a decreased dynamic range in response to triggers of stomatal opening/closure, including elevated osmoticum, suggesting that abrogation of stomatal function reflects a mechanical change in the guard cell wall. Altered stomatal function leads to increased conductance and evaporative cooling, as well as decreased plant growth. The growth defect of the pme6-1 mutant is rescued by maintaining the plants in elevated CO2, substantiating gas exchange analyses, indicating that the mutant stomata can bestow an improved assimilation rate. Restoration of PME6 rescues guard cell wall pectin methyl-esterification status, stomatal function, and plant growth. Our results establish a link between gene expression in guard cells and their cell wall properties, with a corresponding effect on stomatal function and plant physiology.
Ralstonia solanacearum, a species complex of bacterial plant pathogens divided into four monophyletic phylotypes, causes plant diseases in tropical climates around the world. Some strains exhibit a broad host range on solanaceous hosts, while others are highly host-specific as for example some banana-pathogenic strains. Previous studies showed that transcription activator-like (TAL) effectors from Ralstonia, termed RipTALs, are capable of activating reporter genes in planta, if these are preceded by a matching effector binding element (EBE). RipTALs target DNA via their central repeat domain (CRD), where one repeat pairs with one DNA-base of the given EBE. The repeat variable diresidue dictates base repeat specificity in a predictable fashion, known as the TALE code. In this work, we analyze RipTALs across all phylotypes of the Ralstonia solanacearum species complex. We find that RipTALs are prevalent in phylotypes I and IV but absent from most phylotype III and II strains (10/12, 8/14, 1/24, and 1/5 strains contained a RipTAL, respectively). RipTALs originating from strains of the same phylotype show high levels of sequence similarity (>98%) in the N-terminal and C-terminal regions, while RipTALs isolated from different phylotypes show 47–91% sequence similarity in those regions, giving rise to four RipTAL classes. We show that, despite sequence divergence, the base preference for guanine, mediated by the N-terminal region, is conserved across RipTALs of all classes. Using the number and order of repeats found in the CRD, we functionally sub-classify RipTALs, introduce a new simple nomenclature, and predict matching EBEs for all seven distinct RipTALs identified. We experimentally study RipTAL EBEs and uncover that some RipTALs are able to target the EBEs of other RipTALs, referred to as cross-reactivity. In particular, RipTALs from strains with a broad host range on solanaceous hosts cross-react on each other’s EBEs. Investigation of sequence divergence between RipTAL repeats allows for a reconstruction of repeat array biogenesis, for example through slipped strand mispairing or gene conversion. Using these studies we show how RipTALs of broad host range strains evolved convergently toward a shared target sequence. Finally, we discuss the differences between TALE-likes of plant pathogens in the context of disease ecology.
The flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana is a dicot model organism for research in many aspects of plant biology. A comprehensive annotation of its genome paves the way for understanding the functions and activities of all types of transcripts, including mRNA, the various classes of non-coding RNA, and small RNA. The TAIR10 annotation update had a profound impact on Arabidopsis research but was released more than five years ago. Maintaining the accuracy of the annotation continues to be a prerequisite for future progress. Using an integrative annotation pipeline, we assembled tissue-specific RNA-Seq libraries from 113 datasets and constructed 48,359 transcript models of protein-coding genes in eleven tissues. In addition, we annotated various classes of non-coding RNA including microRNA, long intergenic RNA, small nucleolar RNA, natural antisense transcript, small nuclear RNA, and small RNA using published datasets and in-house analytic results. Altogether, we identified 635 novel protein-coding genes, 508 novel transcribed regions, 5,178 non-coding RNAs, and 35,846 small RNA loci that were formerly unannotated. Analysis of the splicing events and RNA-Seq based expression profiles revealed the landscapes of gene structures, untranslated regions, and splicing activities to be more intricate than previously appreciated. Furthermore, we present 692 uniformly expressed housekeeping genes, 43% of whose human orthologs are also housekeeping genes. This updated Arabidopsis genome annotation with a substantially increased resolution of gene models will not only further our understanding of the biological processes of this plant model but also of other species.
Necrotrophic pathogens live and feed on dying tissue, but their interactions with plants are not well understood compared to biotrophic pathogens. The wheat Snn1 gene confers susceptibility to strains of the necrotrophic pathogen Parastagonospora nodorum that produce the SnTox1 protein. We report the positional cloning of Snn1 , a member of the wall-associated kinase class of receptors, which are known to drive pathways for biotrophic pathogen resistance. Recognition of SnTox1 by Snn1 activates programmed cell death, which allows this necrotroph to gain nutrients and sporulate. These results demonstrate that necrotrophic pathogens such as P. nodorum hijack host molecular pathways that are typically involved in resistance to biotrophic pathogens, revealing the complex nature of susceptibility and resistance in necrotrophic and biotrophic pathogen interactions with plants.
Bacterial pathogenicity relies on a proficient metabolism and there is increasing evidence that metabolic adaptation to exploit host resources is a key property of infectious organisms. In many cases, colonization by the pathogen also implies an intensive multiplication and the necessity to produce a large array of virulence factors, which may represent a significant cost for the pathogen. We describe here the existence of a resource allocation trade-off mechanism in the plant pathogen R. solanacearum. We generated a genome-scale reconstruction of the metabolic network of R. solanacearum, together with a macromolecule network module accounting for the production and secretion of hundreds of virulence determinants. By using a combination of constraint-based modeling and metabolic flux analyses, we quantified the metabolic cost for production of exopolysaccharides, which are critical for disease symptom production, and other virulence factors. We demonstrated that this trade-off between virulence factor production and bacterial proliferation is controlled by the quorum-sensing-dependent regulatory protein PhcA. A phcA mutant is avirulent but has a better growth rate than the wild-type strain. Moreover, a phcA mutant has an expanded metabolic versatility, being able to metabolize 17 substrates more than the wild-type. Model predictions indicate that metabolic pathways are optimally oriented towards proliferation in a phcA mutant and we show that this enhanced metabolic versatility in phcA mutants is to a large extent a consequence of not paying the cost for virulence. This analysis allowed identifying candidate metabolic substrates having a substantial impact on bacterial growth during infection. Interestingly, the substrates supporting well both production of virulence factors and growth are those found in higher amount within the plant host. These findings also provide an explanatory basis to the well-known emergence of avirulent variants in R. solanacearum populations in planta or in stressful environments.
Gaining insight in likely disease emergence scenarios is critical to preventing such events from happening. Recent focus has been on emerging zoonoses and on identifying common patterns and drivers of emerging diseases. However, no overarching framework exists to integrate knowledge on all emerging infectious disease events. Here, we propose such a conceptual framework based on changes in the interplay of pathogens, hosts and environment that lead to the formation of novel disease patterns and pathogen genetic adjustment. We categorize infectious disease emergence events into three groups: (i) pathogens showing up in a novel host, ranging from spill-over, including zoonoses, to complete species jumps; (ii) mutant pathogens displaying novel traits in the same host, including an increase in virulence, antimicrobial resistance and host immune escape; and (iii) disease complexes emerging in a new geographic area, either through range expansion or through long distance jumps. Each of these categories is characterized by a typical set of drivers of emergence, matching pathogen trait profiles, disease ecology and transmission dynamics. Our framework may assist in disentangling and structuring the rapidly growing amount of available information on infectious diseases. Moreover, it may contribute to a better understanding of how human action changes disease landscapes globally.
TAL effectors (TALEs) contain a modular DNA-binding domain that is composed of tandem repeats. In all naturally occurring TALEs, the end of tandem repeats is invariantly a truncated half repeat. To investigate the potential role of the last half repeat in TALEs, we performed comparative molecular dynamics simulations for the crystal structure of DNA-bound TALE AvrBs3 lacking the last half repeat and its modeled structure having the last half repeat. The structural stability analysis indicates that the modeled system is more stable than the nonmodeled system. Based on the principle component analysis, it is found that the AvrBs3 increases its structural compactness in the presence of the last half repeat. The comparison of DNA groove parameters of the two systems implies that the last half repeat also causes the change of DNA major groove binding efficiency. The following calculation of hydrogen bond reveals that, by stabilizing the phosphate binding with DNA at the C-terminus, the last half repeat helps to adopt a compact conformation at the protein-DNA interface. It further mediates more contacts between TAL repeats and DNA nucleotide bases. Finally, we suggest that the last half repeat is required for the high-efficient recognition of DNA by TALE.
As a key virulence strategy to cause Bacterial Leaf Blight, Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo) injects into the plant cell DNA-binding proteins called Transcription Activator-Like Effectors (TALEs), that bind to Effector-Binding Elements (EBEs) in a sequence-specific manner, resulting in host gene induction. TALEs AvrXa7, PthXo3, TalC and Tal5, found in geographically distant Xoo strains, all target OsSWEET14, thus considered as a pivotal TALE target acting as major susceptibility factor during rice-Xoo interactions. Here, we report the generation of an allele library of OsSWEET14 promoter through stable expression of TALE-Nuclease (TALEN) constructs in rice. The susceptibility level of lines carrying mutations in AvrXa7, Tal5 or TalC EBEs was assessed. Plants edited in AvrXa7 or Tal5 EBEs were resistant to bacterial strains relying on the corresponding TALE. Surprisingly, although indels within TalC EBE prevented OsSWEET14 induction in response to BAI3 wild-type bacteria relying on TalC, loss of TalC-responsiveness failed to confer resistance to this strain. The TalC EBE mutant line was, however, resistant to a strain expressing an artificial SWEET14-inducing TALE whose EBE was also edited in this line. This work offers the first set of alleles edited in TalC EBE and uncovers a distinct, broader range of activities for TalC compared to AvrXa7 or Tal5. We propose the existence of additional targets for TalC beyond SWEET14, suggesting that TALE-mediated plant susceptibility may result from induction of several, genetically redundant, host susceptibility genes by a single effector.
A commentary on Phylogenomics of Xanthomonas field strains infecting pepper and tomato reveals diversity in effector repertoires and identifies determinants of host specificity by Schwartz, A. R., Potnis, N., Timilsina, S., Wilson, M., Patané, J., Martins, J. Jr., et al. (2015). Front. Microbiol. 6:535. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2015.00535
Author Summary Specialized receptors encoded by plants detect different components of bacterial machinery, and initiate an immune response. These recognition events are thought to induce largely redundant defense signaling, the magnitude of which varies quantitatively among populations, perhaps in response to environment specific differences in microbial threat. Here, we sought to determine whether plants evolve distinct or shared responses to two canonical MAMPs within natural populations. We comprehensively tested the extent of functional redundancy in the response of 186 genotypes of Arabidopsis thaliana to variants of each of two classes of bacterial signals, flagellin and EF-Tu. Although plants respond similarly to recognition of different variants of the same MAMP, we found the response to one MAMP class to be largely uncorrelated with the response to the other class. We further investigated the genetic bases underlying growth changes to determine whether similar genes contribute to variation in the response to EF-Tu and flagellin bacterial signals. We find limited genetic similarity, revealing novel MAMP-specific signaling components. The differentiation of these responses reveals MAMP-specific fine tuning of the immune response.
How pathogens coevolve with and adapt to their hosts are critical to understanding how host jumps and/or acquisition of novel traits can lead to new disease emergences. The Xanthomonas genus includes Gram-negative plant-pathogenic bacteria that collectively infect a broad range of crops and wild plant species. However, individual Xanthomonas strains usually cause disease on only a few plant species and are highly adapted to their hosts, making them pertinent models to study host specificity. This review summarizes our current understanding of the molecular basis of host specificity in the Xanthomonas genus, with a particular focus on the ecology, physiology, and pathogenicity of the bacterium. Despite our limited understanding of the basis of host specificity, type III effectors, microbe-associated molecular patterns, lipopolysaccharides, transcriptional regulators, and chemotactic sensors emerge as key determinants for shaping host specificity.
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