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Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 2013 Dec;26(12):1441-54. doi: 10.1094/MPMI-07-13-0204-R.

Xanthomonas filamentous hemagglutinin-like protein Fha1 interacts with pepper hypersensitive-induced reaction protein CaHIR1 and functions as a virulence factor in host plants.

Abstract

Pathogens have evolved a variety of virulence factors to infect host plants successfully. We previously identified the pepper plasma-membrane-resident hypersensitive-induced reaction protein (CaHIR1) as a regulator of plant disease- and immunity-associated cell death. Here, we identified the small filamentous hemagglutinin-like protein (Fha1) of Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria as an interacting partner of CaHIR1 using yeast two-hybrid screening. Coimmunoprecipitation and bimolecular fluorescence complementation experiments revealed that Fha1 specifically interacts with CaHIR1 in planta. The endocytic tracker FM4-64 staining showed that the CaHIR1-Fha1 complex localizes in the endocytic vesicle-like structure. The X. campestris pv. vesicatoria Δfha1 mutant strain exhibited significantly increased surface adherence but reduced swarming motility. Mutation of fha1 inhibited the growth of X. campestris pv. vesicatoria and X. campestris pv. vesicatoria ΔavrBsT in tomato and pepper leaves, respectively, suggesting that Fha1 acts as a virulence factor in host plants. Transient expression of fha1 and also infiltration with purified Fha1 proteins induced disease-associated cell death response through the interaction with CaHIR1 and suppressed the expression of pathogenesis-related (PR) genes. Silencing of CaHIR1 in pepper significantly reduced ΔavrBsT growth and Fha1-triggered susceptibility cell death. Overexpression of fha1 in Arabidopsis retarded plant growth and triggered disease-associated cell death, resulting in altered disease susceptibility. Taken together, these results suggest that the X. campestris pv. vesicatoria virulence factor Fha1 interacts with CaHIR1, induces susceptibility cell death, and suppresses PR gene expression in host plants.

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