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Plant J. 2002 Nov;32(3):361-73.

Expression of a Phytophthora sojae necrosis-inducing protein occurs during transition from biotrophy to necrotrophy.

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Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 1391 Sandford Street, London, Ontario, Canada N5V 4T3.


Phytophthora sojae is an oomycete that causes stem and root rot on soybean plants. To discover pathogen factors that produce disease symptoms or activate plant defense responses, we identified putative secretory proteins from expressed sequence tags (ESTs) and tested selected candidates using a heterologous expression assay. From an analysis of 3035 ESTs originating from mycelium, zoospore, and infected soybean tissues, we identified 176 putative secreted proteins. A total of 16 different cDNAs predicted to encode secreted proteins ranging in size from 6 to 26 kDa were selected for expression analysis in Nicotiana benthamiana using an Agrobacterium tumefaciens binary potato virus X (PVX) vector. This resulted in the identification of a 25.6-kDa necrosis-inducing protein that is similar in sequence to other proteins from eukaryotic and prokaryotic species. The genomic region encoding the P. sojae necrosis-inducing protein was isolated and the expression pattern of the corresponding gene determined by RNA blot hybridization and by RT-PCR. The activity of this P. sojae protein was compared to proteins of similar sequence from Fusarium oxysporum, Bacillus halodurans, and Streptomyces coelicolor by PVX-based expression in N. benthamiana and by transient expression via particle bombardment in soybean tissues. The P. sojae protein was a powerful inducer of necrosis and cell death in both assays, whereas related proteins from other species varied in their activity. This study suggests that the P. sojae necrosis-inducing protein facilitates the colonization of host tissues during the necrotrophic phase of growth.

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