J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2020, Vol. 62 ›› Issue (3): 378-392.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12883

Special Issue: Plant-biotic interaction

• Plant-biotic Interactions • Previous Articles    

Editing of an effector gene promoter sequence impacts plant‐Phytophthora interaction

Sylvans Ochola1, Jie Huang1, 2, Haider Ali1, Haidong Shu1, Danyu Shen1, 2, Min Qiu1, Liyuan Wang1, Xi Li1, Han Chen1, Alex Kange1, Dinah Qutob3 and Suomeng Dong1, 2*   

  1. 1Department of Plant Pathology, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China
    2Key Laboratory of Integrated Management of Crop Diseases and Pests (Ministry of Education), Nanjing 210095, China
    3Department of Math and Science, Walsh University, North Canton, OH 44720, USA

    Email: Suomeng Dong (smdong@njau.edu.cn)
  • Received:2019-08-09 Accepted:2019-10-31 Online:2019-11-06 Published:2020-03-01


Pathogen avirulence (Avr) effectors interplay with corresponding plant resistance (R) proteins and activate robust plant immune responses. Although the expression pattern of Avr genes has been tied to their functions for a long time, it is still not clear how Avr gene expression patterns impact plant‐microbe interactions. Here, we selected PsAvr3b, which shows a typical effector gene expression pattern from a soybean root pathogen Phytophthora sojae. To modulate gene expression, we engineered PsAvr3b promoter sequences by in situ substitution with promoter sequences from Actin (constitutive expression), PsXEG1 (early expression), and PsNLP1 (later expression) using the CRISPR/Cas9. PsAvr3b driven by different promoters resulted in distinct expression levels across all the tested infection time points. Importantly, those mutants with low PsAvr3b expression successfully colonized soybean plants carrying the cognate R gene Rps3b. To dissect the difference in plant responses to the PsAvr3b expression level, we conducted RNA‐sequencing of different infection samples at 24 h postinfection and found soybean immune genes, including a few previously unknown genes that are associated with resistance. Our study highlights that fine‐tuning in Avr gene expression impacts the compatibility of plant disease and provides clues to improve crop resistance in disease control management.

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