Plants recognize invading pathogens and parasites with highly specific immune receptors, so-called NB-LRR proteins. Following the recognition of an invader, these immune receptors activate defence responses that ultimately result in local programmed cell death in plant cells near the site of infection.
It is thought that the defence-related programmed cell death in host cells prevents further pathogen ingress, and in the case of plant parasitic nematodes stalls the development of infective juveniles. In this paper we show that the plant-parasitic nematode Globodera rostochiensis secretes a SPRYSEC protein that specifically suppresses CC-NB-LRR-mediated programmed cell death and disease resistance in plants. Remarkably, this SPRYSEC protein also suppresses the defence response mediated by an immune receptor that only recognises a plant virus. Our findings will change how plant-breeders have to approach disease resistance in plants to nematodes, as recognition of an invader proofs to be only one factor in the equation that sums up to susceptibly and resistance.