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.
Beat Keller, Thomas Wicker and colleagues compare the genomes of 46 isolates of powdery mildew, Blumeria graminis. They find that B. graminis f. sp. triticale, a pathogen growing on triticale (a wheat [times] rye hybrid plant), is a hybrid of B. graminis f. sp. tritici and B. graminis f. sp. secalis, which grow on wheat and rye, respectively.
Sheath rot complex and seed discoloration in rice involve a number of pathogenic bacteria that cannot be associated with distinctive symptoms. These pathogens can easily travel on asymptomatic seeds and therefore represent a threat to rice cropping systems. Among the rice-infecting Pseudomonas, P. fuscovaginae has been associated with sheath brown rot disease in several rice growing areas around the world. The appearance of a similar Pseudomonas population, which here we named P. fuscovaginae-like, represents a perfect opportunity to understand common genomic features that can explain the infection mechanism in rice. We showed that the novel population is indeed closely related to P. fuscovaginae. A comparative genomics approach on eight rice-infecting Pseudomonas revealed heterogeneous genomes and a high number of strain-specific genes. The genomes of P. fuscovaginae-like harbor four secretion systems (Type I, II, III, and VI) and other important pathogenicity machinery that could probably facilitate rice colonization. We identified 123 core secreted proteins, most of which have strong signatures of positive selection suggesting functional adaptation. Transcript accumulation of putative pathogenicity-related genes during rice colonization revealed a concerted virulence mechanism. The study suggests that rice-infecting Pseudomonas causing sheath brown rot are intrinsically diverse and maintain a variable set of metabolic capabilities as a potential strategy to occupy a range of environments.
Author Summary Diseases caused by pathogens affect most plants in their natural environment. Plants combat the majority of these intruders by activating elaborate immune responses, which typically result in a disease resistance response. Nevertheless, pathogens have typically evolved ways to bypass plant defenses, and susceptibility to pathogens re-appears. In addition to this occasional immune failure of the host, other immune-response independent processes allow further ingress of the invading pathogen, and contribute to plant pathogen susceptibility. We identified four transcription factors (TFs) that are required for effective disease resistance to fungal necrotrophs. These TFs regulate critical aspects of disease resistance/susceptibility to necrotrophs without interfering with immune signaling. Mutant plants defective in any of these four TFs commonly induce about 80 genes, with a substantial proportion encoding peptides with secretion signals that are described to act as local signals (peptide hormones) during cell-to-cell communication, and that function in the plant-specific paracrine/autocrine system. We further show that many of these peptide hormones affect disease susceptibility of the host to necrotrophs. Our findings have thus uncovered many new factors that underpin immune-response independent processes of plant disease susceptibility.
Mutualistic symbioses between eukaryotes and beneficial microorganisms of their microbiome play an essential role in nutrition, protection against disease, and development of the host. However, the impact of beneficial symbionts on the evolution of host genomes remains poorly characterized. Here we used the independent loss of the most widespread plant–microbe symbiosis, arbuscular mycorrhization (AM), as a model to address this question. Using a large phenotypic approach and phylogenetic analyses, we present evidence that loss of AM symbiosis correlates with the loss of many symbiotic genes in the Arabidopsis lineage (Brassicales). Then, by analyzing the genome and/or transcriptomes of nine other phylogenetically divergent non-host plants, we show that this correlation occurred in a convergent manner in four additional plant lineages, demonstrating the existence of an evolutionary pattern specific to symbiotic genes. Finally, we use a global comparative phylogenomic approach to track this evolutionary pattern among land plants. Based on this approach, we identify a set of 174 highly conserved genes and demonstrate enrichment in symbiosis-related genes. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that beneficial symbionts maintain purifying selection on host gene networks during the evolution of entire lineages.
Populations of the potato and tomato late-blight pathogen Phytophthora infestans are well known for emerging as novel clonal lineages. These successions of dominant clones have historically been named US1 through US24, in order of appearance, since their first characterization using molecular markers. Hypothetically, these lineages can emerge through divergence from other U.S. lineages, recombination among lineages, or as novel, independent lineages originating outside the United States. We tested for the presence of phylogenetic relationships among U.S. lineages using a population of 31 whole-genome sequences, including dominant U.S. clonal lineages as well as available samples from global populations. We analyzed ancestry of the whole mitochondrial genome and samples of nuclear loci, including supercontigs 1.1 and 1.5 as well as several previously characterized coding regions. We found support for a shared ancestry among lineages US11 and US18 from the mitochondrial genome as well as from one nuclear haplotype on each supercontig analyzed. The other nuclear haplotype from each sample assorted independently, indicating an independent ancestry. We found no support for emergence of any other of the U.S. lineages from a common ancestor shared with the other U.S. lineages. Each of the U.S. clonal lineages fit a model where populations of new clonal lineages emerge via migration from a source population that is sexual in nature and potentially located in central Mexico or elsewhere. This work provides novel insights into patterns of emergence of clonal lineages in plant pathogen genomes.
The rice pathogens Xanthomonas oryzae pathovar (pv.) oryzae and pv. oryzicola produce numerous transcription activator-like (TAL) effectors that increase bacterial virulence by activating expression of host susceptibility genes. Rice resistance mechanisms against TAL effectors include polymorphisms that prevent effector binding to susceptibility gene promoters, or that allow effector activation of resistance genes. This study identifies, in the heirloom variety Carolina Gold Select, a third mechanism of rice resistance involving TAL effectors. This resistance manifests through strong suppression of disease development in response to diverse TAL effectors from both X. oryzae pathovars. The resistance can be triggered by an effector with only 3.5 central repeats, is independent of the composition of the repeat variable diresidues that determine TAL effector binding specificity, and is independent of the transcriptional activation domain. We determined that the resistance is conferred by a single dominant locus, designated Xo1, that maps to a 1.09 Mbp fragment on chromosome 4. The Xo1 interval also confers complete resistance to the strains in the African clade of X. oryzae pv. oryzicola, representing the first dominant resistance locus against bacterial leaf streak in rice. The strong phenotypic similarity between the TAL effector triggered resistance conferred by Xo1 and that conferred by the tomato resistance gene Bs4 suggests that monocots and dicots share an ancient or convergently evolved mechanism to recognize analogous TAL effector epitopes.
Introduction Beneficial microbes in the microbiome of plant roots provide important services to the plant as they improve plant nutrition and provide protection against plant pathogens (Berendsen et al.
Around one century ago, a rice disease characterized mainly by rotting of sheaths was reported in Taiwan. The causal agent was identified as Acrocylindrium oryzae, later known as Sarocladium oryzae. Since then it has become clear that various other organisms can cause similar disease symptoms, including Fusarium spp. and fluorescent pseudomonads. These organisms have in common that they produce a range of phytotoxins that induce necrosis in plants. The same agents also cause grain discoloration, chaffiness and sterility and are all seed-transmitted. Rice sheath rot disease symptoms are found in all rice-growing areas of the world. The disease is now getting momentum and is considered as an important emerging rice production threat. The disease can lead to variable yield losses, which can be as high as 85%. This review aims at improving our understanding of the disease etiology of rice sheath rot and mainly deals with the three most reported rice sheath rot pathogens: Sarocladium oryzae, the Fusarium fujikuroi complex and Pseudomonas fuscovaginae. Causal agents, pathogenicity determinants, interactions among the various pathogens, epidemiology, geographical distribution and control options will be discussed.
Traditional rice varieties harbour a large store of genetic diversity with potential to accelerate rice improvement. For a long time, this diversity maintained in the International Rice Genebank has not been fully used because of a lack of genome information. The publication of the first reference genome of Nipponbare by the International Rice Genome Sequencing Project (IRGSP) marked the beginning of a systematic exploration and use of rice diversity for genetic research and breeding. Since then, the Nipponbare genome has served as the reference for the assembly of many additional genomes. The recently completed 3000 Rice Genomes Project together with the public database (SNP-Seek) provides a new genomic and data resource that enables the identification of useful accessions for breeding. Using disease resistance traits as case studies, we demonstrated the power of allele mining in the 3,000 genomes for extracting accessions from the GeneBank for targeted phenotyping. Although potentially useful landraces can now be identified, their use in breeding is often hindered by unfavourable linkages. Efficient breeding designs are much needed to transfer the useful diversity to breeding. Multi-parent Advanced Generation InterCross (MAGIC) is a breeding design to produce highly recombined populations. The MAGIC approach can be used to generate pre-breeding populations with increased genotypic diversity and reduced linkage drag. Allele mining combined with a multi-parent breeding design can help convert useful diversity into breeding-ready genetic resources.
•HopZ3 targets the RPM1 immune complex and effectors that activate this complex•HopZ3 acetylates Ser, Thr, Lys, as well as His•HopZ3 acetylates residues important for multiple facets of plant immune signaling•Bacterial effector-effector interactions are implicated in the outcome of infection
Modifications of plant immune complexes by secreted pathogen effectors can trigger strong immune responses mediated by the action of nucleotide binding-leucine-rich repeat immune receptors. Although some strains of the pathogen Pseudomonas syringae harbor effectors that individually can trigger immunity, the plant’s response may be suppressed by other virulence factors. This work reveals a robust strategy for immune suppression mediated by HopZ3, an effector in the YopJ family of acetyltransferases. The suppressing HopZ3 effector binds to and can acetylate multiple members of the RPM1 immune complex, as well as two P. syringaeeffectors that together activate the RPM1 complex. These acetylations modify serine, threonine, lysine, and/or histidine residues in the targets. Through HopZ3-mediated acetylation, it is possible that the whole effector-immune complex is inactivated, leading to increased growth of the pathogen.
Pathogens play an important part in shaping the structure and dynamics of natural communities, because species are not affected by them equally1, 2. A shared goal of ecology and epidemiology is to predict when a species is most vulnerable to disease. A leading hypothesis asserts that the impact of disease should increase with host abundance, producing a ‘rare-species advantage’3, 4, 5. However, the impact of a pathogen may be decoupled from host abundance, because most pathogens infect more than one species, leading to pathogen spillover onto closely related species6, 7. Here we show that the phylogenetic and ecological structure of the surrounding community can be important predictors of disease pressure. We found that the amount of tissue lost to disease increased with the relative abundance of a species across a grassland plant community, and that this rare-species advantage had an additional phylogenetic component: disease pressure was stronger on species with many close relatives. We used a global model of pathogen sharing as a function of relatedness between hosts, which provided a robust predictor of relative disease pressure at the local scale. In our grassland, the total amount of disease was most accurately explained not by the abundance of the focal host alone, but by the abundance of all species in the community weighted by their phylogenetic distance to the host. Furthermore, the model strongly predicted observed disease pressure for 44 novel host species we introduced experimentally to our study site, providing evidence for a mechanism to explain why phylogenetically rare species are more likely to become invasive when introduced8, 9. Our results demonstrate how the phylogenetic and ecological structure of communities can have a key role in disease dynamics, with implications for the maintenance of biodiversity, biotic resistance against introduced weeds, and the success of managed plants in agriculture and forestry.
Phytopathogenic bacteria of the Xanthomonas genus cause severe diseases on hundreds host plants, including economically important crops, such as rice, wheat, cassava, banana, mango, tomato, citrus, cabbage, pepper, bean and cotton. Diseases occurring in nature comprise black rot, leaf/fruit spot, canker, wilt, leaf blight and streak. These bacteria are present worldwide where some phytopathogenic strains are emergent or re-emergent and, consequently, dramatically impact agriculture, economy and food safety.
Xanthomonas bacteria provide excellent models for genomic studies and hundreds of Xanthomonas genome sequences have been obtained since 2002 and many other are underway (www.xanthomonas.org/genomes.html). Comparative genomics between and/or within bacterial species and/or pathovars will be of a great help to decipher commonalities and particularities that underly host range definition.
Most of the Xanthomonas possesses a type III secretion system (T3SS) that is required for injection of various effectors inside plant cells, thus contributing to pathogenicity. Transcription Activator-Like (tal) genes, encode bacterial transcription factors which are injected through the T3SS by many Xanthomonas to promote pathogenicity. Some Ralstonia, Bulkholderia and marine bacteria also express TAL-like proteins which function and mode of action is starting to be deciphered. TALs are addressed to the plant nucleus where they activate plant gene expression by direct binding to the corresponding promoter sequences. Targeted genes essentially act as susceptibility genes. A few years after the cracking of the code allowing the TAL/Host promoter sequence recognition, combined to the ever-growing availability of plant genomes, many efforts have been done to identify TAL targets. These data collected for many Xanthomonas/host pathosystems will assuredly help breeders to breed resistance resistant in important crops.
In this Research Topic we aim to collect manuscripts covering the current knowledge of Xanthomonas genomics and effectomics, with a special focus on TAL effector biology. Specifically, we encourage the submission of manuscripts (Original Research, Hypothesis & Theory, Methods, Reviews, Mini Reviews, Perspective and Opinion) covering the following topics: 1. Manuscripts reporting genome sequencing of Xanthomonas strains. 2. Manuscripts describing functional and comparative genomics in Xanthomonas species/pathovars. 3. Manuscripts describing functional studies on Xanthomonas type III effectors. 3. Manuscripts describing discovery, evolution, bio-informatics and functional genomics of TAL effectors and their targets in plant genomes, as well as for TAL-like in non-Xanthomonas bacteria. 4. Manuscripts describing applications of TAL effector research for resistance breeding in crops.
We anticipate that this Research Topic will be of importance for plant pathologists and breeders.
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