A Novel ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’-Encoded Sec-Dependent Secretory Protein Suppresses Programmed Cell Death in Nicotiana benthamiana

Zhang et al. (2019). International Journal of Molecular Sciences 20 (22)
Names (1)
Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus
Catalysis Computer Science Applications General Medicine Inorganic Chemistry Molecular Biology Organic Chemistry Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Spectroscopy
‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ (CLas) is one of the causal agents of citrus Huanglongbing (HLB), a bacterial disease of citrus trees that greatly reduces fruit yield and quality. CLas strains produce an array of currently uncharacterized Sec-dependent secretory proteins. In this study, the conserved chromosomally encoded protein CLIBASIA_03875 was identified as a novel Sec-dependent secreted protein. We show that CLIBASIA_03875 contains a putative Sec- secretion signal peptide (SP), a 29 amino acid residue located at the N-terminus, with a mature protein (m3875) of 22 amino acids found to localize in multiple subcellular components of the leaf epidermal cells of Nicotiana benthamiana. When overexpressed via a Potato virus X (PVX)-based expression vector in N. benthamiana, m3875 suppressed programmed cell death (PCD) and the H2O2 accumulation triggered by the pro-apoptotic mouse protein BAX and the Phytophthora infestans elicitin INF1. Overexpression also resulted in a phenotype of dwarfing, leaf deformation and mosaics, suggesting that m3875 has roles in plant immune response, growth, and development. Substitution mutagenesis of the charged amino acid (D7, R9, R11, and K22) with alanine within m3875 did not recover the phenotypes for PCD and normal growth. In addition, the transiently overexpressed m3875 regulated the transcriptional levels of N. benthamiana orthologs of CNGCs (cyclic nucleotide-gated channels), BI-1 (Bax-inhibitor 1), and WRKY33 that are involved in plant defense mechanisms. To our knowledge, m3875 is the first PCD suppressor identified from CLas. Studying the function of this protein provides insight as to how CLas attenuates the host immune responses to proliferate and cause Huanglongbing disease in citrus plants.
Publication date