A downy mildew effector attenuates salicylic acid–triggered immunity in Arabidopsis by interacting with the host mediator complex

Marie-Cécile Caillaud, Shuta Asai, Ghanasyam Rallapalli, Sophie Piquerez, Georgina Fabro, Jonathan D. G. Jones

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160 Citations (Scopus)
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Plants are continually exposed to pathogen attack but usually remain healthy because they can activate defences upon perception of microbes. However, pathogens have evolved to overcome plant immunity by delivering effectors into the plant cell to attenuate defence, resulting in disease. Recent studies suggest that some effectors may manipulate host transcription, but the specific mechanisms by which such effectors promote susceptibility remain unclear. We study the oomycete downy mildew pathogen of Arabidopsis, Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis (Hpa), and show here that the nuclear-localized effector HaRxL44 interacts with Mediator subunit 19a (MED19a), resulting in the degradation of MED19a in a proteasome-dependent manner. The Mediator complex of ∼25 proteins is broadly conserved in eukaryotes and mediates the interaction between transcriptional regulators and RNA polymerase II. We found MED19a to be a positive regulator of immunity against Hpa. Expression profiling experiments reveal transcriptional changes resembling jasmonic acid/ethylene (JA/ET) signalling in the presence of HaRxL44, and also 3 d after infection with Hpa. Elevated JA/ET signalling is associated with a decrease in salicylic acid (SA)-triggered immunity (SATI) in Arabidopsis plants expressing HaRxL44 and in med19a loss-of-function mutants, whereas SATI is elevated in plants overexpressing MED19a. Using a PR1::GUS reporter, we discovered that Hpa suppresses PR1 expression specifically in cells containing haustoria, into which RxLR effectors are delivered, but not in nonhaustoriated adjacent cells, which show high PR1::GUS expression levels. Thus, HaRxL44 interferes with Mediator function by degrading MED19, shifting the balance of defence transcription from SA-responsive defence to JA/ET-signalling, and enhancing susceptibility to biotrophs by attenuating SA-dependent gene expression.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1001732
JournalPLoS Biology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2013


  • Arabidopsis
  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Mediator Complex
  • Peronospora
  • Plant Diseases
  • Plant Growth Regulators
  • Plant Immunity
  • Salicylic Acid

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