Plant-parasitic cyst nematodes penetrate plant roots and transform cells near the vasculature into specialized feeding sites called syncytia. Syncytia form by incorporating neighboring cells into a single fused cell by cell wall dissolution. This process is initiated via injection of esophageal gland cell effector proteins from the nematode stylet into the host cell. Once inside the cell, these proteins may interact with host proteins that regulate the phytohormone auxin, as cellular concentrations of auxin increase in developing syncytia. Soybean cyst nematode (Heterodera glycines) Hg19C07 is a novel effector protein expressed specifically in the dorsal gland cell during nematode parasitism. Here, we describe its ortholog in the beet cyst nematode (Heterodera schachtii), Hs19C07. We demonstrate that Hs19C07 interacts with the Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) auxin influx transporter LAX3. LAX3 is expressed in cells overlying lateral root primordia, providing auxin signaling that triggers the expression of cell wall-modifying enzymes, allowing lateral roots to emerge. We found that LAX3 and polygalacturonase, a LAX3-induced cell wall-modifying enzyme, are expressed in the developing syncytium and in cells to be incorporated into the syncytium. We observed no decrease in H. schachtii infectivity in aux1 and lax3 single mutants. However, a decrease was observed in both the aux1lax3 double mutant and the aux1lax1lax2lax3 quadruple mutant. In addition, ectopic expression of 19C07 was found to speed up lateral root emergence. We propose that Hs19C07 most likely increases LAX3-mediated auxin influx and may provide a mechanism for cyst nematodes to modulate auxin flow into root cells, stimulating cell wall hydrolysis for syncytium development.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/thomas-baum/57/