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Front. Plant Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.00970

Plant proteins and processes targeted by parasitic nematode effectors

  • 1Université Côte d'Azur, France
  • 2Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kumamoto University, Japan

Sedentary endoparasitic nematodes, such as root-knot nematodes (RKN; Meloidogyne spp.) and cyst nematodes (CN; Heterodera spp. and Globodera spp.) cause considerable damage to agricultural crops. RKN and CN spend most of their life cycle in plant roots, in which they induce the formation of multinucleate hypertrophied feeding cells, called “giant cells” and “syncytia”, respectively. The giant cells result from nuclear divisions of vascular cells without cytokinesis. They are surrounded by small dividing cells and they form a new organ within the root known as a root knot or gall. CN infection leads to the fusion of several root cells into a unique syncytium. These dramatically modified host cells act as metabolic sinks from which the nematode withdraws nutrients throughout its life, and they are thus essential for nematode development. Both RKN and CN secrete effector proteins that are synthesised in the oesophageal glands and delivered to the appropriate cell in the host plant via a syringe-like stylet, triggering the ontogenesis of the feeding structures. Within the plant cell or in the apoplast, effectors associate with specific host proteins, enabling them to hijack important processes for cell morphogenesis and physiology or immunity. Here, we review recent findings on the identification and functional characterisation of plant targets of RKN and CN effectors. A better understanding of the molecular determinants of these biotrophic relationships would enable us to improve the yields of crops infected with parasitic nematodes and to expand our comprehension of root development.

Keywords: Root-knot nematodes, cyst nematodes, galls, syncytium, Effectors

Received: 17 May 2019; Accepted: 11 Jul 2019.

Edited by:

Mozhgan Sepehri, Shiraz University, Iran

Reviewed by:

Tarek Hewezi, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, United States
Valerie M. Williamson, University of California, Davis, United States
Godelieve Gheysen, Ghent University, Belgium
Reza Ghaderi, Shiraz University, Iran  

Copyright: © 2019 MEJIAS, TRUONG, ABAD, FAVERY and QUENTIN. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Michaël QUENTIN, Université Côte d'Azur, Nice, France,