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Front Plant Sci. 2013 Mar 13;4:53. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2013.00053. eCollection 2013.

Plant parasitic nematode effectors target host defense and nuclear functions to establish feeding cells.

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  • 1Institut Sophia Agrobiotech, UMR INRA 1355 - Université Nice-Sophia Antipolis - CNRS 7254 Sophia Antipolis, France.


Plant parasitic nematodes are microscopic worms, the most damaging species of which have adopted a sedentary lifestyle within their hosts. These obligate endoparasites have a biotrophic relationship with plants, in which they induce the differentiation of root cells into hypertrophied, multinucleate feeding cells (FCs). Effectors synthesized in the esophageal glands of the nematode are injected into the plant cells via the syringe-like stylet and play a key role in manipulating the host machinery. The establishment of specialized FCs requires these effectors to modulate many aspects of plant cell morphogenesis and physiology, including defense responses. This cell reprogramming requires changes to host nuclear processes. Some proteins encoded by parasitism genes target host nuclei. Several of these proteins were immunolocalized within FC nuclei or shown to interact with host nuclear proteins. Comparative genomics and functional analyses are gradually revealing the roles of nematode effectors. We describe here these effectors and their hypothesized roles in the unique feeding behavior of these pests.


cyst nematodes; effectors; feeding cells; plant nuclei; root-knot nematodes

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