Niche-specific metabolic adaptation in biotrophic and necrotrophic oomycetes is manifested in differential use of nutrients, variation in gene content, and enzyme evolution.
ABSTRACT: The use of host nutrients to support pathogen growth is central to disease. We addressed the relationship between metabolism and trophic behavior by comparing metabolic gene expression during potato tuber colonization by two oomycetes, the hemibiotroph Phytophthora infestans and the necrotroph Pythium ultimum. Genes for several pathways including amino acid, nucleotide, and cofactor biosynthesis were expressed more by Ph. infestans during its biotrophic stage compared to Py. ultimum. In contrast, Py. ultimum had higher expression of genes for metabolizing compounds that are normally sequestered within plant cells but released to the pathogen upon plant cell lysis, such as starch and triacylglycerides. The transcription pattern of metabolic genes in Ph. infestans during late infection became more like that of Py. ultimum, consistent with the former's transition to necrotrophy. Interspecific variation in metabolic gene content was limited but included the presence of ?-amylase only in Py. ultimum. The pathogens were also found to employ strikingly distinct strategies for using nitrate. Measurements of mRNA, 15N labeling studies, enzyme assays, and immunoblotting indicated that the assimilation pathway in Ph. infestans was nitrate-insensitive but induced during amino acid and ammonium starvation. In contrast, the pathway was nitrate-induced but not amino acid-repressed in Py. ultimum. The lack of amino acid repression in Py. ultimum appears due to the absence of a transcription factor common to fungi and Phytophthora that acts as a nitrogen metabolite repressor. Evidence for functional diversification in nitrate reductase protein was also observed. Its temperature optimum was adapted to each organism's growth range, and its Km was much lower in Py. ultimum. In summary, we observed divergence in patterns of gene expression, gene content, and enzyme function which contribute to the fitness of each species in its niche.
Project description:How pathogen genomes evolve to support distinct lifestyles is not well-understood. The oomycete Phytophthora infestans, the potato blight agent, is a largely biotrophic pathogen that feeds from living host cells, which become necrotic only late in infection. The related oomycete Pythium ultimum grows saprophytically in soil and as a necrotroph in plants, causing massive tissue destruction. To learn what distinguishes their lifestyles, we compared their gene contents and expression patterns in media and a shared host, potato tuber.Genes related to pathogenesis varied in temporal expression pattern, mRNA level, and family size between the species. A family's aggregate expression during infection was not proportional to size due to transcriptional remodeling and pseudogenization. Ph. infestans had more stage-specific genes, while Py. ultimum tended towards more constitutive expression. Ph. infestans expressed more genes encoding secreted cell wall-degrading enzymes, but other categories such as secreted proteases and ABC transporters had higher transcript levels in Py. ultimum. Species-specific genes were identified including new Pythium genes, perforins, which may disrupt plant membranes. Genome-wide ortholog analyses identified substantial diversified expression, which correlated with sequence divergence. Pseudogenization was associated with gene family expansion, especially in gene clusters.This first large-scale analysis of transcriptional divergence within oomycetes revealed major shifts in genome composition and expression, including subfunctionalization within gene families. Biotrophy and necrotrophy seem determined by species-specific genes and the varied expression of shared pathogenicity factors, which may be useful targets for crop protection.
Project description:To help learn how phytopathogens feed from their hosts, genes for nutrient transporters from the hemibiotrophic potato and tomato pest Phytophthora infestans were annotated. This identified 453 genes from 19 families. Comparisons with a necrotrophic oomycete, Pythium ultimum var. ultimum, and a hemibiotrophic fungus, Magnaporthe oryzae, revealed diversity in the size of some families although a similar fraction of genes encoded transporters. RNA-seq of infected potato tubers, tomato leaves, and several artificial media revealed that 56 and 207 transporters from P. infestans were significantly up- or down-regulated, respectively, during early infection timepoints of leaves or tubers versus media. About 17 were up-regulated >4-fold in both leaves and tubers compared to media and expressed primarily in the biotrophic stage. The transcription pattern of many genes was host-organ specific. For example, the mRNA level of a nitrate transporter (NRT) was about 100-fold higher during mid-infection in leaves, which are nitrate-rich, than in tubers and three types of artificial media, which are nitrate-poor. The NRT gene is physically linked with genes encoding nitrate reductase (NR) and nitrite reductase (NiR), which mobilize nitrate into ammonium and amino acids. All three genes were coregulated. For example, the three genes were expressed primarily at mid-stage infection timepoints in both potato and tomato leaves, but showed little expression in potato tubers. Transformants down-regulated for all three genes were generated by DNA-directed RNAi, with silencing spreading from the NR target to the flanking NRT and NiR genes. The silenced strains were nonpathogenic on leaves but colonized tubers. We propose that the nitrate assimilation genes play roles both in obtaining nitrogen for amino acid biosynthesis and protecting P. infestans from natural or fertilization-induced nitrate and nitrite toxicity.
Project description:Pythium ultimum is a ubiquitous oomycete plant pathogen responsible for a variety of diseases on a broad range of crop and ornamental species.The P. ultimum genome (42.8 Mb) encodes 15,290 genes and has extensive sequence similarity and synteny with related Phytophthora species, including the potato blight pathogen Phytophthora infestans. Whole transcriptome sequencing revealed expression of 86% of genes, with detectable differential expression of suites of genes under abiotic stress and in the presence of a host. The predicted proteome includes a large repertoire of proteins involved in plant pathogen interactions, although, surprisingly, the P. ultimum genome does not encode any classical RXLR effectors and relatively few Crinkler genes in comparison to related phytopathogenic oomycetes. A lower number of enzymes involved in carbohydrate metabolism were present compared to Phytophthora species, with the notable absence of cutinases, suggesting a significant difference in virulence mechanisms between P. ultimum and more host-specific oomycete species. Although we observed a high degree of orthology with Phytophthora genomes, there were novel features of the P. ultimum proteome, including an expansion of genes involved in proteolysis and genes unique to Pythium. We identified a small gene family of cadherins, proteins involved in cell adhesion, the first report of these in a genome outside the metazoans.Access to the P. ultimum genome has revealed not only core pathogenic mechanisms within the oomycetes but also lineage-specific genes associated with the alternative virulence and lifestyles found within the pythiaceous lineages compared to the Peronosporaceae.
Project description:Phytophthora infestans, the causal agent of potato late blight, triggered the devastating Great Irish Famine that lasted from 1845 to 1852. Today, it is still the greatest threat to the potato yield. Ethylicin is a broad-spectrum biomimetic-fungicide. However, its application in the control of Phytophthora infestans is still unknown. In this study, we investigated the effects of ethylicin on Phytophthora infestans. We found that ethylicin inhibited the mycelial growth, sporulation capacity, spore germination and virulence of Phytophthora infestans. Furthermore, the integrated analysis of proteomics and metabolomics indicates that ethylicin may inhibit peptide or protein biosynthesis by suppressing both the ribosomal function and amino acid metabolism, causing an inhibitory effect on Phytophthora infestans. These observations indicate that ethylicin may be an anti-oomycete agent that can be used to control Phytophthora infestans.
Project description:The small cellulose-binding-domain protein CBD1 is tightly bound to the cellulosic cell wall of the plant pathogenic stramenopile Phytophthora infestans. Transgene expression of the protein in potato plants also demonstrated binding to plant cell walls. A study was undertaken using 47 isolates of P. infestans from a worldwide collection, along with 17 other Phytophthora species and a related pathogen Plasmopara halstedii, to determine if the critical cell wall protein is subject to amino acid variability. Within the amino acid sequence of the secreted portion of CBD 1, encoded by the P. infestans isolates, 30 were identical with each other, and with P. mirabilis. Four isolates had one amino acid difference, each in a different location, while one isolate had two amino acid substitutions. The remaining 13 isolates had five amino acid changes that were each in identical locations (D17/G, D31/G, I32/S, T43/A, and G50/A), suggesting a single origin. Comparison of P. infestans CBD1 with other Phytophthora species identified extensive amino acid variation among the 60 amino acids at the amino terminus of the protein, and a high level of conservation from G61, where the critical cellulose-binding domain sequences begin, to the end of the protein (L110). While the region needed to bind to cellulose is conserved, the region that is available to interact with other cell wall components is subject to considerable variation, a feature that is evident even in the related genus Plasmopara. Specific changes can be used in determining intra- and inter-species relatedness. Application of this information allowed for the design of species-specific primers for PCR detection of P. infestans and P. sojae, by combining primers from the highly conserved and variable regions of the CBD1 gene.
Project description:Ph-3 is the first cloned tomato gene for resistance to late blight and encodes a CC-NBS-LRR protein. Late blight, caused by Phytophthora infestans, is one of the most destructive diseases in tomato. The resistance (R) gene Ph-3, derived from Solanum pimpinellifolium L3708, provides resistance to multiple P. infestans isolates and has been widely used in tomato breeding programmes. In our previous study, Ph-3 was mapped into a region harbouring R gene analogues (RGA) at the distal part of long arm of chromosome 9. To further narrow down the Ph-3 interval, more recombinants were identified using the flanking markers G2-4 and M8-2, which defined the Ph-3 gene to a 26 kb region according to the Heinz1706 reference genome. To clone the Ph-3 gene, a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library was constructed using L3708 and one BAC clone B25E21 containing the Ph-3 region was identified. The sequence of the BAC clone B25E21 showed that only one RGA was present in the target region. A subsequent complementation analysis demonstrated that this RGA, encoding a CC-NBS-LRR protein, was able to complement the susceptible phenotype in cultivar Moneymaker. Thus this RGA was considered the Ph-3 gene. The predicted Ph-3 protein shares high amino acid identity with the chromosome-9-derived potato resistance proteins against P. infestans (Rpi proteins).
Project description:Phytophthora infestans (P. infestans) is the causal agent of potato late blight, which caused the devastating Irish Potato Famine during 1845-1852. Until now, potato late blight is still the most serious threat to potato growth and has caused significant economic losses worldwide. Melatonin can induce plant innate immunity against pathogen infection, but the direct effects of melatonin on plant pathogens are poorly understood. In this study, we investigated the direct effects of melatonin on P. infestans. Exogenous melatonin significantly attenuated the potato late blight by inhibiting mycelial growth, changing cell ultrastructure, and reducing stress tolerance of P. infestans. Notably, synergistic anti-fungal effects of melatonin with fungicides on P. infestans suggest that melatonin could reduce the dose levels and enhance the efficacy of fungicide against potato late blight. A transcriptome analysis was carried out to mine downstream genes whose expression levels were affected by melatonin. The analysis of the transcriptome suggests that 66 differentially expressed genes involved in amino acid metabolic processes were significantly affected by melatonin. Moreover, the differentially expressed genes associated with stress tolerance, fungicide resistance, and virulence were also affected. These findings contribute to a new understanding of the direct functions of the melatonin on P. infestans and provide a potential ecofriendly biocontrol approach using a melatonin-based paradigm and application to prevent potato late blight.
Project description:Phytophthora infestans is a devastating pathogen in agricultural systems. Recently, an RNA silencing suppressor (PSR2, 'Phytophthora suppressor of RNA silencing 2') has been described in P. infestans. PSR2 has been shown to increase the virulence of Phytophthora pathogens on their hosts. This gene is one of the few effectors present in many economically important Phytophthora species. In this study, we investigated: (i) the evolutionary history of PSR2 within and between species of Phytophthora; and (ii) the interaction between sequence variation, gene expression and virulence. In P. infestans, the highest PiPSR2 expression was correlated with decreased symptom expression. The highest gene expression was observed in the biotrophic phase of the pathogen, suggesting that PSR2 is important during early infection. Protein sequence conservation was negatively correlated with host range, suggesting host range as a driver of PSR2 evolution. Within species, we detected elevated amino acid variation, as observed for other effectors; however, the frequency spectrum of the mutations was inconsistent with strong balancing selection. This evolutionary pattern may be related to the conservation of the host target(s) of PSR2 and the absence of known corresponding R genes. In summary, our study indicates that PSR2 is a conserved effector that acts as a master switch to modify plant gene regulation early during infection for the pathogen's benefit. The conservation of PSR2 and its important role in virulence make it a promising target for pathogen management.
Project description:The oomycete pathogen Phytophthora infestans causes potato and tomato late blight, a disease that is a serious threat to agriculture. P. infestans is a hemibiotrophic pathogen, and during infection, it scavenges nutrients from living host cells for its own proliferation. To date, the nutrient flux from host to pathogen during infection has hardly been studied, and the interlinked metabolisms of the pathogen and host remain poorly understood. Here, we reconstructed an integrated metabolic model of P. infestans and tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) by integrating two previously published models for both species. We used this integrated model to simulate metabolic fluxes from host to pathogen and explored the topology of the model to study the dependencies of the metabolism of P. infestans on that of tomato. This showed, for example, that P. infestans, a thiamine auxotroph, depends on certain metabolic reactions of the tomato thiamine biosynthesis. We also exploited dual-transcriptome data of a time course of a full late blight infection cycle on tomato leaves and integrated the expression of metabolic enzymes in the model. This revealed profound changes in pathogen-host metabolism during infection. As infection progresses, P. infestans performs less de novo synthesis of metabolites and scavenges more metabolites from tomato. This integrated metabolic model for the P. infestans-tomato interaction provides a framework to integrate data and generate hypotheses about in planta nutrition of P. infestans throughout its infection cycle.IMPORTANCE Late blight disease caused by the oomycete pathogen Phytophthora infestans leads to extensive yield losses in tomato and potato cultivation worldwide. To effectively control this pathogen, a thorough understanding of the mechanisms shaping the interaction with its hosts is paramount. While considerable work has focused on exploring host defense mechanisms and identifying P. infestans proteins contributing to virulence and pathogenicity, the nutritional strategies of the pathogen are mostly unresolved. Genome-scale metabolic models (GEMs) can be used to simulate metabolic fluxes and help in unravelling the complex nature of metabolism. We integrated a GEM of tomato with a GEM of P. infestans to simulate the metabolic fluxes that occur during infection. This yields insights into the nutrients that P. infestans obtains during different phases of the infection cycle and helps in generating hypotheses about nutrition in planta.
Project description:To characterize the molecular mechanisms underlying life-stage transitions in Phytophthora infestans, we initiated a chemical genetics approach by screening for a stage-specific inhibitor of morphological development from microbial culture extracts prepared mostly from actinomycetes from soil in Japan. Of the more than 700 extracts, one consistently inhibited Ph. infestans cyst germination. Purification and identification of the active compound by ESI–MS, 1H-NMR, and 13C-NMR identified ?-rubromycin as the inhibitor of cyst germination (IC50?=?19.8 ?g/L); ?-rubromycin did not inhibit growth on rye media, sporangium formation, zoospore release, cyst formation, or appressorium formation in Ph. infestans. Further analyses revealed that ?-rubromycin inhibited the germination of cysts and oospores in Pythium aphanidermatum. A chemical genetic approach revealed that ?-rubromycin stimulated the expression of RIO kinase-like gene (PITG_04584) by 60-fold in Ph. infestans. Genetic analyses revealed that PITG_04584, which lacks close non-oomycete relatives, was involved in zoosporogenesis, cyst germination, and appressorium formation in Ph. infestans. These data imply that further functional analyses of PITG_04584 may contribute to new methods to suppress diseases caused by oomycetes.