Phytophthora infestans RXLR effector AVR1 disturbs the growth of Physcomitrium patens without affecting Sec5 localization

Overdijk, Elysa J.R.; Putker, Vera; Smits, Joep; Tang, Han; Bouwmeester, Klaas; Govers, Francine; Ketelaar, Tijs


Plant pathogens often exploit a whole range of effectors to facilitate infection. The RXLR effector AVR1 produced by the oomycete plant pathogen Phytophthora infestans suppresses host defense by targeting Sec5. Sec5 is a subunit of the exocyst, a protein complex that is important for mediating polarized exocytosis during plant development and defense against pathogens. The mechanism by which AVR1 manipulates Sec5 functioning is unknown. In this study, we analyzed the effect of AVR1 on Sec5 localization and functioning in the moss Physcomitrium patens. P. patens has four Sec5 homologs. Two (PpSec5b and PpSec5d) were found to interact with AVR1 in yeast-two-hybrid assays while none of the four showed a positive interaction with AVR1ΔT, a truncated version of AVR1. In P. patens lines carrying β-estradiol inducible AVR1 or AVR1ΔT transgenes, expression of AVR1 or AVR1ΔT caused defects in the development of caulonemal protonema cells and abnormal morphology of chloronema cells. Similar phenotypes were observed in Sec5- or Sec6-silenced P. patens lines, suggesting that both AVR1 and AVR1ΔT affect exocyst functioning in P. patens. With respect to Sec5 localization we found no differences between β-estradiol-treated and untreated transgenic AVR1 lines. Sec5 localizes at the plasma membrane in growing caulonema cells, also during pathogen attack, and its subcellular localization is the same, with or without AVR1 in the vicinity.