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J Integr Plant Biol
Fg12 ribonuclease secretion contributes to Fusarium graminearum virulence and induces plant cell death
Bo Yang1,2, Yuyin Wang1,2 , Mengjun Tian1,2, Kaixin Dai1,2, Wenyue Zheng1,2, Zehan Liu1,2, Sen Yang1,2, Xinyu Liu1,2, Dongya Shi1,2, Haifeng Zhang1,2, Yan Wang1,2, Wenwu Ye1,2 and Yuanchao Wang1,2 *
1 Department of Plant Pathology, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China
2 The Key Laboratory of Plant Immunity, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China

*Correspondence: Yuanchao Wang (wangyc@njau.edu.cn).
doi: 10.1111/jipb.12997
Abstract

Filamentous fungal pathogens secrete effectors that modulate host immunity and facilitate infection. Fusarium graminearum is an important plant pathogen responsible for various devastating diseases. However, little is known about the function of effector proteins secreted by F. graminearum. Herein, we identified several effector candidates in the F. graminearum secretome. Among them, the secreted ribonuclease Fg12 was highly upregulated during the early stages of F. graminearum infection in soybean; its deletion compromised the virulence of F. graminearum. Transient expression of Fg12 in Nicotiana benthamiana induced cell death in a light‐dependent manner. Fg12 possessed ribonuclease (RNase) activity, degrading total RNA. The enzymatic activity of Fg12 was required for its cell death‐promoting effects. Importantly, the ability of Fg12 to induce cell death was independent of BAK1/SOBIR1, and treatment of soybean with recombinant Fg12 protein induced resistance to various pathogens, including F. graminearum and Phytophthora sojae. Overall, our results provide evidence that RNase effectors not only contribute to pathogen virulence but also induce plant cell death.

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Received: 21 May 2020      Accepted:    Online on:29 July 2020
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