Jan 7, 2016

A bacterial parasite effector mediates insect vector attraction in host plants independently of developmental changes

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Zigmunds Orlovskis, Saskia A Hogenhout


Parasites can take over their hosts and trigger dramatic changes in host appearance and behaviour that are typically interpreted as extended phenotypes to promote parasite survival and fitness. For example, Toxoplasma gondii manipulates the behaviour of infected rodents to aid transmission to cats and parasitic trematodes of the genus Ribeiroia alter limb development in their amphibian hosts to facilitate predation by birds. Plant parasites and pathogens also reprogram host development and morphology. Phytoplasma parasites of plants induce extensive leaf-like flower phenotype (phyllody) in their host plants, presumably to attract insect vectors on which these bacteria depend for transmission. However, it remains debatable whether morphological phenotypes, such as phyllody, are directly beneficial to the parasites or are side-products of parasite infection. Previously, we found that phytoplasma virulence protein (effector) SAP54 binds and mediates degradation of host MADS-box transcription factors (MTFs), regulatory hubs of plant development and hormone physiology, to induce phyllody and promote insect vector colonisation. Here we show that plants heterologously expressing SAP54 are strongly attractive to insects, but surprising...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

FTMT gene
Science of Morphology
Insect Vectors
Toxoplasma gondii
Limb Structure
Cellular Reprogramming
Disease Transmission
Binding (Molecular Function)

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