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A Root-Knot Nematode Secretory Peptide Functions as a Ligand for a Plant Transcription Factor

May 2006 , Volume 19 , Number  5
Pages  463 - 470

Guozhong Huang , 1 Ruihua Dong , 1 Rex Allen , 1 Eric L. Davis , 2 Thomas J. Baum , 3 and Richard S. Hussey 1

1Department of Plant Pathology, University of Georgia, Athens 30602-7274, U.S.A.; 2Department of Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh 27695-7616, U.S.A.; 3Department of Plant Pathology, Iowa State University, Ames 50011, U.S.A.

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Accepted 16 January 2006.

Parasitism genes expressed in the esophageal gland cells of root-knot nematodes encode proteins that are secreted into host root cells to transform the recipient cells into enlarged multinucleate feeding cells called giant-cells. Expression of a root-knot nematode parasitism gene which encodes a novel 13-amino-acid secretory peptide in plant tissues stimulated root growth. Two SCARECROW-like transcription factors of the GRAS protein family were identified as the putative targets for this bioactive nematode peptide in yeast two-hybrid analyses and confirmed by in vitro and in vivo coimmunoprecipitations. This discovery is the first demonstration of a direct interaction of a nematode-secreted parasitism peptide with a plant-regulatory protein, which may represent an early signaling event in the root-knot nematode-host interaction.

Additional keywords: stylet secretion, transgenic plants.

© 2006 The American Phytopathological Society