Identification and functional analysis of the NLP-encoding genes from the phytopathogenic oomycete Phytophthora capsici
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Phytophthora capsici is a hemibiotrophic, phytopathogenic oomycete that infects a wide range of crops, resulting in significant economic losses worldwide. By means of a diverse arsenal of secreted effector proteins, hemibiotrophic pathogens may manipulate plant cell death to establish a successful infection and colonization. In this study, we described the analysis of the gene family encoding necrosis- and ethylene-inducing peptide 1 (Nep1)-like proteins (NLPs) in P. capsici, and identified 39 real NLP genes and 26 NLP pseudogenes. Out of the 65 predicted NLP genes, 48 occur in groups with two or more genes, whereas the remainder appears to be singletons distributed randomly among the genome. Phylogenetic analysis of the 39 real NLPs delineated three groups. Key residues/motif important for the effector activities are degenerated in most NLPs, including the nlp24 peptide consisting of the conserved region I (11-aa immunogenic part) and conserved region II (the heptapeptide GHRHDWE motif) that is important for phytotoxic activity. Transcriptional profiling of eight selected NLP genes indicated that they were differentially expressed during the developmental and plant infection phases of P. capsici. Functional analysis of ten cloned NLPs demonstrated that Pc11951, Pc107869, Pc109174 and Pc118548 were capable of inducing cell death in the Solanaceae, including Nicotiana benthamiana and hot pepper. This study provides an overview of the P. capsici NLP gene family, laying a foundation for further elucidating the pathogenicity mechanism of this devastating pathogen.
KeywordsPhytophthora capsici Necrosis NLP Nlp24 Transcriptional pattern Virulence Agroinfiltration
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (no. 31671971), Natural Science Foundation of Yangzhou City (China) (no. YZ2016121), the Special Fund for Agro-Scientific Research in the Public Interest of China (no. 201303018) and the Yangzhou University 2016 Project for Excellent Young Key Teachers. The authors thank Dr. Paul Morris (Bowling Green State University, OH, USA) for his critical reading of the manuscript.
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
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