A jacalin-like lectin domain-containing protein of Sclerospora graminicola acts as an apoplastic virulence effector in plant–oomycete interactions

A paper has been published in which Prof. Terauchi is the corresponding author.

Kobayashi, M., Utsushi, H., Fujisaki, K., Takeda, T., Yamashita, T., & Terauchi, R. (2022). A jacalin-like lectin domain-containing protein of Sclerospora graminicola acts as an apoplastic virulence effector in plant–oomycete interactions. Molecular Plant Pathology, 23, 845– 854. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1111/mpp.13197


The plant extracellular space, including the apoplast and plasma membrane, is the initial site of plant–pathogen interactions. Pathogens deliver numerous secreted proteins, called effectors, into this region to suppress plant immunity and establish infection. Downy mildew caused by the oomycete pathogen Sclerospora graminicola (Sg) is an economically important disease of Poaceae crops including foxtail millet (Setaria italica). We previously reported the genome sequence of Sg and showed that the jacalin-related lectin (JRL) gene family has significantly expanded in this lineage. However, the biological functions of JRL proteins remained unknown. Here, we show that JRL from Sg (SgJRL) functions as an apoplastic virulence effector. We identified eight SgJRLs by protein mass spectrometry analysis of extracellular fluid from Sg-inoculated foxtail millet leaves. SgJRLs consist of a jacalin-like lectin domain and an N-terminal putative secretion signal; SgJRL expression is induced by Sg infection. Heterologous expression of three SgJRLs with N-terminal secretion signal peptides in Nicotiana benthamiana enhanced the virulence of the pathogen Phytophthora palmivora inoculated onto the same leaves. Of the three SgJRLs, SG06536 fused with green fluorescent protein (GFP) localized to the apoplastic space in N. benthamiana leaves. INF1-mediated induction of defence-related genes was suppressed by co-expression of SG06536-GFP. These findings suggest that JRLs are novel apoplastic effectors that contribute to pathogenicity by suppressing plant defence responses.