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A unique invertase is important for sugar absorption of an obligate biotrophic pathogen during infection

Qing Chang, Jie Liu, Xiaohong Lin, Shoujun Hu, Yang Yang, Dan Li Liyang Chen, Baoyu Huai, Lili Huang, Ralf T. Voegele, Zhensheng Kang.

New Phytologist

DOI: 10.1111/nph.14666

 

 

Abstract: An increased invertase activity in infected plant tissue has been observed in many plant–pathogen interactions. However, the origin of this increased invertase activity (plant and/or pathogen) is still under debate. In addition, the role of pathogen invertases in the infection process is also unclear.

    We identified and cloned a gene with homology to invertases from Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici (Pst). Transcript levels of PsINV were analyzed by quantitative reverse transcription PCR in both compatible and incompatible Pst–wheat interactions . Function of the gene product was confirmed by heterologous expression, and its function in Pst infection was analyzed by host-induced gene silencing (HIGS).

    Pst abundantly secretes invertase during its invasion attempts whether in a compatible or incompatible interaction with wheat. Further research into the different domains of this protein indicated that the rust-specific sequence contributes to a higher efficiency of sucrose hydrolysis. With PsINV silenced by HIGS during the infection process, growth of Pst is inhibited and conidial fructification incomplete. Finally, pathogenicity of Pst is impaired and spore yield significantly reduced.

    Our results clearly demonstrate that this Pst invertase plays a pivotal role in this plant–pathogen interaction probably by boosting sucrose hydrolysis to secure the pathogen’s sugar absorption.