Parasitic modulation of host development by ubiquitin-independent protein degradation

Weijie Huang, Allyson M. MacLean, Akiko Sugio, Abbas Maqbool, Marco Busscher, Shu-Ting Cho, Sophien Kamoun, Chih-Horng Kuo, Richard G. H. Immink, Saskia A. Hogenhout

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Certain obligate parasites induce complex and substantial phenotypic changes in their hosts in ways that favor their transmission to other trophic levels. However, the mechanisms underlying these changes remain largely unknown. Here we demonstrate how SAP05 protein effectors from insect-vectored plant pathogenic phytoplasmas take control of several plant developmental processes. These effectors simultaneously prolong the host lifespan and induce witches’ broom-like proliferations of leaf and sterile shoots, organs colonized by phytoplasmas and vectors. SAP05 acts by mediating the concurrent degradation of SPL and GATA developmental regulators via a process that relies on hijacking the plant ubiquitin receptor RPN10 independent of substrate ubiquitination. RPN10 is highly conserved among eukaryotes, but SAP05 does not bind insect vector RPN10. A two-amino-acid substitution within plant RPN10 generates a functional variant that is resistant to SAP05 activities. Therefore, one effector protein enables obligate parasitic phytoplasmas to induce a plethora of developmental phenotypes in their hosts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5201-5214.e12
Number of pages14
Issue number20
Early online date17 Sep 2021
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2021

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