Link to home

A Bacterial Type III Secretion Assay for Delivery of Fungal Effector Proteins into Wheat

March 2014 , Volume 27 , Number  3
Pages  255 - 264

Narayana M. Upadhyaya,1 Rohit Mago,1 Brian J. Staskawicz,2 Michael A. Ayliffe,1 Jeffrey G. Ellis,1 and Peter N. Dodds1

1CSIRO Plant Industry Australia, Box 1600, Clunies Ross Street, Canberra, ACT, 2601, Australia; 2University of California, Berkeley, U.S.A.

Go to article:
Accepted14 October 2013.

Large numbers of candidate effectors from fungal pathogens are being identified through whole-genome sequencing and in planta expression studies. Although Agrobacterium-mediated transient expression has enabled high-throughput functional analysis of effectors in dicot plants, this assay is not effective in cereal leaves. Here, we show that a nonpathogenic Pseudomonas fluorescens engineered to express the type III secretion system (T3SS) of P. syringae and the wheat pathogen Xanthomonas translucens can deliver fusion proteins containing T3SS signals from P. syringae (AvrRpm1) and X. campestris (AvrBs2) avirulence (Avr) proteins, respectively, into wheat leaf cells. A calmodulin-dependent adenylate cyclase reporter protein was delivered effectively into wheat and barley by both bacteria. Absence of any disease symptoms with P. fluorescens makes it more suitable than X. translucens for detecting a hypersensitive response (HR) induced by an effector protein with avirulence activity. We further modified the delivery system by removal of the myristoylation site from the AvrRpm1 fusion to prevent its localization to the plasma membrane which could inhibit recognition of an Avr protein. Delivery of the flax rust AvrM protein by the modified delivery system into transgenic tobacco leaves expressing the corresponding M resistance protein induced a strong HR, indicating that the system is capable of delivering a functional rust Avr protein. In a preliminary screen of effectors from the stem rust fungus Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici, we identified one effector that induced a host genotype-specific HR in wheat. Thus, the modified AvrRpm1:effector–Pseudomonas fluorescens system is an effective tool for large-scale screening of pathogen effectors for recognition in wheat.

© 2014 The American Phytopathological Society