Valsa mali Pathogenic Effector VmPxE1 Contributes to Full Virulence and Interacts With the Host Peroxidase MdAPX1 as a Potential Target
Mian Zhang, Hao Feng, Yuhuan Zhao, Linlin Song, Chen Gao, Xiangming Xu, Lili Huang.
Abstract: The Valsa canker, caused by Valsa mali (V. mali), is a destructive disease of apple in Eastern Asia. Effector proteins are important for fungal pathogenicity. We studied a candidate effector VmPxE1 isolated based on the genome information of V. mali. By using the yeast invertase secretion assay system, VmPxE1 was shown to contain a signal peptide with secretory functions. VmPxE1 can suppress BCL-2-associated X protein (BAX)-induced cell death with a high efficacy of 92% in Nicotiana benthamiana. The expression of VmPxE1 was upregulated during the early infection stage and deletion of VmPxE1 led to significant reductions in virulence on both apple twigs and leaves. VmPxE1 was also shown to target an apple ascorbate peroxidase (MdAPX1) by the yeast two-hybrid screening, bimolecular fluorescence complementation and in vivo co-immunoprecipitation. Sequence phylogenetic analysis suggested that MdAPX1 was an ascorbate peroxidase belonging to a subgroup of heme-dependent peroxidases of the plant superfamily. The ectopic expression of MdAPX1 in the mutant of VmPxE1 significantly enhanced resistance to H2O2, while the presence of VmPxE1 seems to disturb MdAPX1 function. The present results provide insights into the functions of VmPxE1 as a candidate effector of V. mali in causing apple canker.