Nep1-like proteins from three kingdoms of life act as a microbe-associated molecular pattern in Arabidopsis.
ABSTRACT: Necrosis and ethylene-inducing peptide 1 (Nep1)-like proteins (NLPs) are secreted by a wide range of plant-associated microorganisms. They are best known for their cytotoxicity in dicot plants that leads to the induction of rapid tissue necrosis and plant immune responses. The biotrophic downy mildew pathogen Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis encodes 10 different noncytotoxic NLPs (HaNLPs) that do not cause necrosis. We discovered that these noncytotoxic NLPs, however, act as potent activators of the plant immune system in Arabidopsis thaliana. Ectopic expression of HaNLP3 in Arabidopsis triggered resistance to H. arabidopsidis, activated the expression of a large set of defense-related genes, and caused a reduction of plant growth that is typically associated with strongly enhanced immunity. N- and C-terminal deletions of HaNLP3, as well as amino acid substitutions, pinpointed to a small central region of the protein that is required to trigger immunity, indicating the protein acts as a microbe-associated molecular pattern (MAMP). This was confirmed in experiments with a synthetic peptide of 24 aa, derived from the central part of HaNLP3 and corresponding to a conserved region in type 1 NLPs that induces ethylene production, a well-known MAMP response. Strikingly, corresponding 24-aa peptides of fungal and bacterial type 1 NLPs were also able to trigger immunity in Arabidopsis. The widespread phylogenetic distribution of type 1 NLPs makes this protein family (to our knowledge) the first proteinaceous MAMP identified in three different kingdoms of life.
Project description:Necrosis and ethylene-inducing peptide 1 (Nep1)-like proteins (NLPs) are secreted by several phytopathogenic microorganisms. They trigger necrosis in various eudicot plants upon binding to plant sphingolipid glycosylinositol phosphorylceramides (GIPC). Interestingly, HaNLP3 from the obligate biotroph oomycete Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis does not induce necrosis. We determined the crystal structure of HaNLP3 and showed that it adopts the NLP fold. However, the conformations of the loops surrounding the GIPC headgroup-binding cavity differ from those of cytotoxic Pythium aphanidermatum NLPPya. Essential dynamics extracted from ?s-long molecular dynamics (MD) simulations reveals a limited conformational plasticity of the GIPC-binding cavity in HaNLP3 relative to toxic NLPs. This likely precludes HaNLP3 binding to GIPCs, which is the underlying reason for the lack of toxicity. This study reveals that mutations at key protein regions cause a switch between non-toxic and toxic phenotypes within the same protein scaffold. Altogether, these data provide evidence that protein flexibility is a distinguishing trait of toxic NLPs and highlight structural determinants for a potential functional diversification of non-toxic NLPs utilized by biotrophic plant pathogens.
Project description:The obligate biotrophic oomycete Plasmopara viticola causes tremendous problems in viticulture by evoking grapevine downy mildew. P. viticola, like other plant pathogens, achieves infection by suppression of plant innate immunity by secretion of effector molecules into its host plant. An ever-expanding family of proteins with effector-like characteristics is formed by the "Necrosis and Ethylene inducing peptide 1 (Nep1)-like proteins" (NLPs). NLPs can be divided into two groups by their ability to induce necrosis. While cytotoxic NLPs may act as virulence factors for a necrotrophic or hemibiotrophic plant pathogen, the role of non-cytotoxic NLPs is so far unknown. In this study, we identified eight independent NLPs in P. viticola and selected three for functional analysis. While one was identified as a putative pseudo gene, two contain all so far described critical key elements for necrosis formation except for an N-terminal signal peptide. Further characterization revealed that none of the putative necrosis elicitors was able to actually induce necrosis, neither in several susceptible or resistant Vitis species nor in the dicot model plant Nicotiana benthamiana. This inability exists independently of the presence or absence of a signal peptide. However, any possible mechanism for the suppression of the ability to induce necrosis in planta was not detected. Interestingly, expression analysis of the presumed pseudo gene revealed remarkable differences between pure sporangia solution and sporangia in the presence of leaf material. To our knowledge, this is the first report of this kind of regulation that suggests an important function of so far nonfunctional "pseudo" NLP genes during the first hours of infection.
Project description:Microbe- or host damage-derived patterns mediate activation of pattern-triggered immunity (PTI) in plants. Microbial virulence factor (effector)-triggered immunity (ETI) constitutes a second layer of plant protection against microbial attack. Various necrosis and ethylene-inducing peptide 1 (Nep1)-like proteins (NLPs) produced by bacterial, oomycete and fungal microbes are phytotoxic virulence factors that exert immunogenic activities through phytotoxin-induced host cell damage. We here show that multiple cytotoxic NLPs also carry a pattern of 20 amino acid residues (nlp20) that triggers immunity-associated plant defenses and immunity to microbial infection in Arabidopsis thaliana and related plant species with similar characteristics as the prototype pattern, bacterial flagellin. Characteristic differences in flagellin and nlp20 plant responses exist however, as nlp20s fail to trigger extracellular alkalinization in Arabidopsis cell suspensions and seedling growth inhibition. Immunogenic nlp20 peptide motifs are frequently found in bacterial, oomycete and fungal NLPs. Such an unusually broad taxonomic distribution within three phylogenetic kingdoms is unprecedented among microbe-derived triggers of immune responses in either metazoans or plants. Our findings suggest that cytotoxic NLPs carrying immunogenic nlp20 motifs trigger PTI in two ways as typical patterns and by inflicting host cell damage. We further propose that conserved structures within a microbial virulence factor might have driven the emergence of a plant pattern recognition system mediating PTI. As this is reminiscent of the evolution of immune receptors mediating ETI, our findings support the idea that there is a continuum between PTI and ETI.
Project description:BACKGROUND: NEP1-like proteins (NLPs) are a novel family of microbial elicitors of plant necrosis. Some NLPs induce a hypersensitive-like response in dicot plants though the basis for this response remains unclear. In addition, the spatial structure and the role of these highly conserved proteins are not known. RESULTS: We predict a 3d-structure for the beta-rich section of the NLPs based on alignments, prediction tools and molecular dynamics. We calculated a consensus sequence from 42 NLPs proteins, predicted its secondary structure and obtained a high quality alignment of this structure and conserved residues with the two Cupin superfamily motifs. The conserved sequence GHRHDWE and several common residues, especially some conserved histidines, in NLPs match closely the two cupin motifs. Besides other common residues shared by dicot Auxin-Binding Proteins (ABPs) and NLPs, an additional conserved histidine found in all dicot ABPs was also found in all NLPs at the same position. CONCLUSION: We propose that the necrosis inducing protein class belongs to the Cupin superfamily. Based on the 3d-structure, we are proposing some possible functions for the NLPs.
Project description:Many phytopathogenic fungi produce necrosis and ethylene inducing peptide 1 (Nep1-like proteins or NLP) that trigger leaf necrosis and the activation of defense mechanisms. These proteins have been widely studied in plant pathogens as Moniliophthora perniciosa or Botrytis cinerea between others, but little is known about their biological roles in grapevine trunk pathogens. Advances in the sequencing of genomes of several fungi involved in grapevine trunk diseases have revealed that these proteins are present in several copies in their genomes. The aim of this project was to analyze the presence of genes encoding NLP proteins in the Diplodia seriata genome and to characterize their putative role as virulence factors associated to grapevine trunk diseases. In this study, we characterized four NLPs from Diplodia seriata. All proteins showed highly similar amino acid sequences and contained the characteristic peptide motifs of NLPs. DserNEPs slightly reduced the viability of Vitis vinifera L. cell cultures. The cytolytic activity from DserNEP1 was stronger than that from DserNEP2, even at low concentrations. Purified DserNEPs also produced necrosis in leaves when they were inoculated into micropropagules of V. vinifera L. This is the first record of Nep1-like proteins from a fungus associated with grapevine trunk diseases and also from a member of the Botryosphaeriaceae family.
Project description:Necrosis- and ethylene-inducing-like proteins (NLPs) are secreted by fungi, oomycetes and bacteria. Conserved nlp peptides derived from NLPs are recognized as pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs), leading to PAMP-triggered immune responses. RLP23 is the receptor of the nlp peptides in Arabidopsis thaliana; however, its actual contribution to plant immunity is unclear. Here, we report that RLP23 is required for Arabidopsis immunity against the necrotrophic fungal pathogen Botrytis cinerea. Arabidopsis rlp23 mutants exhibited enhanced susceptibility to B. cinerea compared with the wild-type plants. Notably, microscopic observation of the B. cinerea infection behaviour indicated the involvement of RLP23 in pre-invasive resistance to the pathogen. B. cinerea carried two NLP genes, BcNEP1 and BcNEP2; BcNEP1 was expressed preferentially before/during invasion into Arabidopsis, whereas BcNEP2 was expressed at the late phase of infection. Importantly, the nlp peptides derived from both BcNEP1 and BcNEP2 induced the production of reactive oxygen species in an RLP23-dependent manner. In contrast, another necrotrophic fungus Alternaria brassicicola did not express the NLP gene in the early infection phase and exhibited no enhanced virulence in the rlp23 mutants. Collectively, these results strongly suggest that RLP23 contributes to Arabidopsis pre-invasive resistance to B. cinerea via NLP recognition at the early infection phase.
Project description:Many plant pathogens secrete toxins that enhance microbial virulence by killing host cells. Usually, these toxins are produced by particular microbial taxa, such as bacteria or fungi. In contrast, many bacterial, fungal and oomycete species produce necrosis and ethylene-inducing peptide 1 (Nep1)-like proteins (NLPs) that trigger leaf necrosis and immunity-associated responses in various plants. We have determined the crystal structure of an NLP from the phytopathogenic oomycete Pythium aphanidermatum to 1.35A resolution. The protein fold exhibits structural similarities to cytolytic toxins produced by marine organisms (actinoporins). Computational modeling of the 3-dimensional structure of NLPs from another oomycete, Phytophthora parasitica, and from the phytopathogenic bacterium, Pectobacterium carotovorum, revealed a high extent of fold conservation. Expression of the 2 oomycete NLPs in an nlp-deficient P. carotovorum strain restored bacterial virulence, suggesting that NLPs of prokaryotic and eukaryotic origins are orthologous proteins. NLP mutant protein analyses revealed that identical structural properties were required to cause plasma membrane permeabilization and cytolysis in plant cells, as well as to restore bacterial virulence. In sum, NLPs are conserved virulence factors whose taxonomic distribution is exceptional for microbial phytotoxins, and that contribute to host infection by plasma membrane destruction and cytolysis. We further show that NLP-mediated phytotoxicity and plant defense gene expression share identical fold requirements, suggesting that toxin-mediated interference with host integrity triggers plant immunity-associated responses. Phytotoxin-induced cellular damage-associated activation of plant defenses is reminiscent of microbial toxin-induced inflammasome activation in vertebrates and may thus constitute another conserved element in animal and plant innate immunity.
Project description:The necrosis- and ethylene-inducing protein 1 (Nep1)-like proteins (NLPs) are a class of microbe-associated molecular patterns widely distributed across diverse groups of plant-associated microorganisms. In spite of the cytotoxic activity in dicot plants, the role of most NLPs in the virulence of plant pathogens is still largely unknown. We showed that the MoNLP family of rice blast fungus varied very little in amino acid sequence, transient expression of three MoNLPs induced cell death and the production of reactive oxygen species in Nicotiana benthamiana, and the expression of MoNLPs was induced during infection of susceptible rice plants. To further investigate the biological role of the MoNLP family, a marker-free gene replacement vector was developed and used to knock out the whole family in Magnaporthe oryzae. Results showed no significant difference in disease levels caused by wild type and the quadruple ?MoNLP mutant strains. Likewise, the sporulation and radial growth of the two strains were similar under various unfavorable cultural conditions including malnutrition and abiotic stresses. These observations demonstrated that the MoNLP family is dispensable for the fungal tolerance to the tested adverse cultural conditions, and more importantly, for the virulence of blast fungus on susceptible rice plants.
Project description:Recognition of microbe-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs) derived from invading pathogens by plant pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) initiates a subset of defense responses known as pattern-triggered immunity (PTI). Transcription factors (TFs) orchestrate the onset of PTI through complex signaling networks. Here, we characterized the function of ERF19, a member of the Arabidopsis thaliana ethylene response factor (ERF) family. ERF19 was found to act as a negative regulator of PTI against Botrytis cinerea and Pseudomonas syringae. Notably, overexpression of ERF19 increased plant susceptibility to these pathogens and repressed MAMP-induced PTI outputs. In contrast, expression of the chimeric dominant repressor ERF19-SRDX boosted PTI activation, conferred increased resistance to the fungus B. cinerea, and enhanced elf18-triggered immunity against bacteria. Consistent with a negative role for ERF19 in PTI, MAMP-mediated growth inhibition was weakened or augmented in lines overexpressing ERF19 or expressing ERF19-SRDX, respectively. Using biochemical and genetic approaches, we show that the transcriptional co-repressor Novel INteractor of JAZ (NINJA) associates with and represses the function of ERF19. Our work reveals ERF19 as a novel player in the mitigation of PTI, and highlights a potential role for NINJA in fine-tuning ERF19-mediated regulation of Arabidopsis innate immunity.
Project description:Damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) are endogenous molecules that can activate the plant innate immunity. DAMPs can derive from the plant cell wall, which is composed of a complex mixture of cellulose, hemicellulose, and pectin polysaccharides. Fragments of pectin, called oligogalacturonides (OG), can be released after wounding or by pathogen-encoded cell wall degrading enzymes (CWDEs) such as polygalacturonases (PGs). OG are known to induce innate immune responses, including the activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), production of H2O2, defense gene activation, and callose deposition. Thus, we hypothesized that xyloglucans (Xh), derived from the plant cell wall hemicellulose, could also act as an endogenous elicitor and trigger a signaling cascade similar to OG. Our results indicate that purified Xh elicit MAPK activation and immune gene expression in grapevine (Vitis vinifera) and Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) to trigger induced resistance against necrotrophic (Botrytis cinerea) or biotrophic (Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis) pathogens. Xh also induce resveratrol production in grapevine cell suspension and callose deposition in Arabidopsis which depends on the callose synthase PMR4. In addition, we characterized some signaling components of Xh-induced immunity using Arabidopsis mutants. Our data suggest that Xh-induced resistance against B. cinerea is dependent on the phytoalexin, salicylate, jasmonate, and ethylene pathways.