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A Novel Effector Protein, MJ-NULG1a, Targeted to Giant Cell Nuclei Plays a Role in Meloidogyne javanica Parasitism

January 2013 , Volume 26 , Number  1
Pages  55 - 66

Borong Lin,1 Kan Zhuo,1 Ping Wu,1 Ruqiang Cui,1,2 Lian-Hui Zhang,3 and Jinling Liao1

1Laboratory of Plant Nematology, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, China; 2College of Agronomy, JiangXi Agricultural University, Nanchang 330045, China; 3Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, 61 Biopolis Drive, Singapore 138673

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Accepted 22 June 2012.

Secretory effector proteins expressed within the esophageal glands of root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.) are thought to play key roles in nematode invasion of host roots and in formation of feeding sites necessary for nematodes to complete their life cycle. In this study, a novel effector protein gene designated as Mj-nulg1a, which is expressed specifically within the dorsal gland of Meloidogyne javanica, was isolated through suppression subtractive hybridization. Southern blotting and BLAST search analyses showed that Mj-nulg1a is unique for Meloidogyne spp. A real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction assay showed that expression of Mj-nulg1a was upregulated in parasitic second-stage juveniles and declined in later parasitic stages. MJ-NULG1a contains two putative nuclear localization signals and, consistently, in planta immunolocalization analysis showed that MJ-NULG1a was localized in the nuclei of giant cells during nematode parasitism. In planta RNA interference targeting Mj-nulg1a suppressed the expression of Mj-nulg1a in nematodes and attenuated parasitism ability of M. javanica. In contrast, transgenic Arabidopsis expressing Mj-nulg1a became more susceptible to M. javanica infection than wild-type control plants. These results depict a novel nematode effector that is targeted to giant cell nuclei and plays a critical role in M. javanica parasitism.

© 2013 The American Phytopathological Society