Author(s): Mellersh DG, Heath MC
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Abstract Fungal pathogens almost invariably trigger cell wall-associated defense responses, such as extracellular hydrogen peroxide generation and callose deposition, when they attempt to penetrate either resistant or susceptible plant cells. In the current study, we provide evidence that the expression of these defenses is dependent on adhesion between the plant cell wall and the plasma membrane. Peptides containing an Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) motif, which interfered with plasma membrane-cell wall adhesion as shown by the loss of the thin plasma membrane-cell wall connections known as Hechtian strands, reduced the expression of cell wall-associated defense responses during the penetration of nonhost plants by biotrophic fungal pathogens. This reduction was associated with increased fungal penetration efficiency. Neither of these effects was seen after treatment with similar peptides lacking the RGD motif. Disruption of plant microfilaments had no effect on Hechtian strands but mimicked the effect of RGD peptides on wall defenses, suggesting that the expression of cell wall-associated defenses involves communication between the plant cell wall and the cytosol across the plasma membrane. To visualize the state of the plasma membrane-cell wall interaction during fungal penetration, we observed living cells during sucrose-induced plasmolysis. In interactions that were characterized by the early expression of cell wall-associated defenses, there was no change, or an increase, in plasma membrane-cell wall adhesion under the penetration point as the fungus grew through the plant cell wall. In contrast, for rust fungus interactions with host plants, there was a strong correlation between a lack of cell wall-associated defenses and a localized decrease in plasma membrane-cell wall adhesion under the penetration point. Abolition of this localized decreased adhesion by previous inoculation with a fungus that increased plasma membrane-cell wall adhesion resulted in reduced penetration by the rust fungus and induction of cell wall-associated defenses. These results suggest that rust fungi may induce a decrease in plasma membrane-cell wall adhesion as a means of disrupting the expression of nonspecific defense responses during penetration of host cells.
This article was published in Plant Cell
and referenced in Journal of Bioengineering & Biomedical Science