A nuclear-targeted effector of Rhizophagus irregularis interferes with histone 2B mono-ubiquitination to promote arbuscular mycorrhisation

Wang, Peng; Jiang, Henan; Boeren, Sjef; Dings, Harm; Kulikova, Olga; Bisseling, Ton; Limpens, Erik


Arguably, symbiotic arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi have the broadest host range of all fungi, being able to intracellularly colonise root cells in the vast majority of all land plants. This raises the question how AM fungi effectively deal with the immune systems of such a widely diverse range of plants. Here, we studied the role of a nuclear-localisation signal-containing effector from Rhizophagus irregularis, called Nuclear Localised Effector1 (RiNLE1), that is highly and specifically expressed in arbuscules. We showed that RiNLE1 is able to translocate to the host nucleus where it interacts with the plant core nucleosome protein histone 2B (H2B). RiNLE1 is able to impair the mono-ubiquitination of H2B, which results in the suppression of defence-related gene expression and enhanced colonisation levels. This study highlights a novel mechanism by which AM fungi can effectively control plant epigenetic modifications through direct interaction with a core nucleosome component. Homologues of RiNLE1 are found in a range of fungi that establish intimate interactions with plants, suggesting that this type of effector may be more widely recruited to manipulate host defence responses.