Transient expression of 'Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus' effector SDE1 induces chlorosis by suppressing NbDDX3 gene in Nicotiana benthamiana

Zou et al. (2020).
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Abstract Background: 'Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus' (Las) is the pathogenic bacterium that causes Huanglongbing in citrus plants, as well as in several types of experimental plants. Las releases a set of effectors to modulate host responses. One of these critical effectors is Sec-delivered effector 1 (SDE1), which induces chlorosis in Nicotiana benthamiana. Results: Four SDE1-interacting proteins were identified from N. benthamiana, including DEAD-box RNA helicase DDX3, 26S proteasome non-ATPase regulatory subunit PSMD14, an ARM repeat protein, and a hypothetical protein. Gene silencing revealed that knockdown of the NbDDX3 gene led to chlorosis in N. benthamiana leaves. Fluorescent signal detection revealed that SDE1 was localized to the cell membrane, cytoplasm, and nucleus. Simultaneously, NbDD3 was expressed in cytoplasmic vesicles, as well as in the cell membrane. The interactions between SDE1 and NbDDX3 were shown to be localized on cell membrane using co-localization and bimolecular fluorescence complementation analysis. Moreover, the transcription of NbDDX3 gene was substantially suppressed in N. benthamiana plants that expressed SDE1. Conclusion: Las effector SDE1 interacts with NbDDX3 at the cell membrane. Most importantly, the transient expression of SDE1 exerts a suppression effect on the transcription of NbDDX3 gene. The silencing of NbDDX3 leads to leaf chlorosis in N. benthamiana. This provided evidence to understand the molecular events in association with chlorosis induced by SDE1.
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