Host target modification as a strategy to counter pathogen hijacking of the jasmonate hormone receptor.
In the past decade, characterization of the host targets of pathogen virulence factors took a center stage in the study of pathogenesis and disease susceptibility in plants and humans. However, the impressive knowledge of host targets has not been broadly exploited to inhibit pathogen infection. Here, we show that host target modification could be a promising new approach to "protect" the disease-vulnerable components of plants. In particular, recent studies have identified the plant hormone jasmonate (JA) receptor as one of the common targets of virulence factors from highly evolved biotrophic/hemibiotrophic pathogens. Strains of the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae, for example, produce proteinaceous effectors, as well as a JA-mimicking toxin, coronatine (COR), to activate JA signaling as a mechanism to promote disease susceptibility. Guided by the crystal structure of the JA receptor and evolutionary clues, we succeeded in modifying the JA receptor to allow for sufficient endogenous JA signaling but greatly reduced sensitivity to COR. Transgenic Arabidopsis expressing this modified receptor not only are fertile and maintain a high level of insect defense, but also gain the ability to resist COR-producing pathogens Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato and P. syringae pv. maculicola. Our results provide a proof-of-concept demonstration that host target modification can be a promising new approach to prevent the virulence action of highly evolved pathogens.
Zhang, L; Yao, J; Withers, J; Xin, X-F; Banerjee, R; Fariduddin, Q; Nakamura, Y; Nomura, K; Howe, GA; Boland, W; Yan, H; He, SY
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