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Plant J. 2014 Jan;77(2):297-309. doi: 10.1111/tpj.12391. Epub 2013 Dec 26.

Xanthomonas euvesicatoria type III effector XopQ interacts with tomato and pepper 14-3-3 isoforms to suppress effector-triggered immunity.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Ecology of Plants, Tel Aviv University, 69978, Tel Aviv, Israel.


Effector-triggered immunity (ETI) to host-adapted pathogens is associated with rapid cell death at the infection site. The plant-pathogenic bacterium Xanthomonas euvesicatoria (Xcv) interferes with plant cellular processes by injecting effector proteins into host cells through the type III secretion system. Here, we show that the Xcv effector XopQ suppresses cell death induced by components of the ETI-associated MAP kinase cascade MAPKKKα MEK2/SIPK and by several R/avr gene pairs. Inactivation of xopQ by insertional mutagenesis revealed that this effector inhibits ETI-associated cell death induced by avirulent Xcv in resistant pepper (Capsicum annuum), and enhances bacterial growth in resistant pepper and tomato (Solanum lycopersicum). Using protein-protein interaction studies in yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and in planta, we identified the tomato 14-3-3 isoform SlTFT4 and homologs from other plant species as XopQ interactors. A mutation in the putative 14-3-3 binding site of XopQ impaired interaction of the effector with CaTFT4 in yeast and its virulence function in planta. Consistent with a role in ETI, TFT4 mRNA abundance increased during the incompatible interaction of tomato and pepper with Xcv. Silencing of NbTFT4 in Nicotiana benthamiana significantly reduced cell death induced by MAPKKKα. In addition, silencing of CaTFT4 in pepper delayed the appearance of ETI-associated cell death and enhanced growth of virulent and avirulent Xcv, demonstrating the requirement of TFT4 for plant immunity to Xcv. Our results suggest that the XopQ virulence function is to suppress ETI and immunity-associated cell death by interacting with TFT4, which is an important component of ETI and a bona fide target of XopQ.


14-3-3 proteins; Capsicum annuum; Nicotiana benthamiana; Solanum lycopersicum; Xanthomonas euvesicatoria; XopQ; bacterial pathogenesis; cell death; effector-triggered immunity; type III secreted effectors

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