‘Candidatus Phytoplasma mali’ SAP11-Like protein modulates expression of genes involved in energy production, photosynthesis, and defense in Nicotiana occidentalis leaves

Mittelberger et al. (2024). BMC Plant Biology 24 (1)
Names (1)
Ca. Phytoplasma mali
Abstract Background ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma mali’, the causal agent of apple proliferation disease, exerts influence on its host plant through various effector proteins, including SAP11CaPm which interacts with different TEOSINTE BRANCHED1/ CYCLOIDEA/ PROLIFERATING CELL FACTOR 1 and 2 (TCP) transcription factors. This study examines the transcriptional response of the plant upon early expression of SAP11CaPm. For that purpose, leaves of Nicotiana occidentalis H.-M. Wheeler were Agrobacterium-infiltrated to induce transient expression of SAP11CaPm and changes in the transcriptome were recorded until 5 days post infiltration. Results The RNA-seq analysis revealed that presence of SAP11CaPm in leaves leads to downregulation of genes involved in defense response and related to photosynthetic processes, while expression of genes involved in energy production was enhanced. Conclusions The results indicate that early SAP11CaPm expression might be important for the colonization of the host plant since phytoplasmas lack many metabolic genes and are thus dependent on metabolites from their host plant.
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