Hyphopodium-Specific VdNoxB/VdPls1-Dependent ROS-Ca2+ Signaling Is Required for Plant Infection by Verticillium dahliae

PLoS Pathog. 2016 Jul 27;12(7):e1005793. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1005793. eCollection 2016 Jul.


Verticillium dahliae is a phytopathogenic fungus obligate in root infection. A few hyphopodia differentiate from large numbers of hyphae after conidia germination on the root surface for further infection. However, the molecular features and role of hyphopodia in the pathogenicity of V. dahliae remain elusive. In this study, we found that the VdPls1, a tetraspanin, and the VdNoxB, a catalytic subunit of membrane-bound NADPH oxidases for reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, were specifically expressed in hyphopodia. VdPls1 and VdNoxB highly co-localize with the plasma membrane at the base of hyphopodia, where ROS and penetration pegs are generated. Mutant strains, VdΔnoxb and VdΔpls1, in which VdPls1 and VdNoxB were deleted, respectively, developed defective hyphpodia incapable of producing ROS and penetration pegs. Defective plasma membrane localization of VdNoxB in VdΔpls1 demonstrates that VdPls1 functions as an adaptor protein for the recruitment and activation of the VdNoxB. Furthermore, in VdΔnoxb and VdΔpls1, tip-high Ca2+ accumulation was impaired in hyphopodia, but not in vegetative hyphal tips. Moreover, nuclear targeting of VdCrz1 and activation of calcineurin-Crz1 signaling upon hyphopodium induction in wild-type V. dahliae was impaired in both knockout mutants, indicating that VdPls1/VdNoxB-dependent ROS was specifically required for tip-high Ca2+ elevation in hyphopodia to activate the transcription factor VdCrz1 in the regulation of penetration peg formation. Together with the loss of virulence of VdΔnoxb and VdΔpls1, which are unable to initiate colonization in cotton plants, our data demonstrate that VdNoxB/VdPls1-mediated ROS production activates VdCrz1 signaling through Ca2+ elevation in hyphopodia, infectious structures of V. dahliae, to regulate penetration peg formation during the initial colonization of cotton roots.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Southern
  • Calcium Signaling / physiology*
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal / physiology
  • Gossypium / microbiology
  • Hyphae
  • Immunoprecipitation
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Mycoses / metabolism
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology*
  • Plant Roots / microbiology
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Two-Hybrid System Techniques
  • Verticillium / metabolism
  • Verticillium / pathogenicity*
  • Virulence / physiology


  • Fungal Proteins
  • Reactive Oxygen Species

Grant support

This work was supported by grants from the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDB11040500) to HSG (http://www.cas.cn/kxyj/index.shtml#xdzx), and the China Transgenic Research and Commercialization Key Special Project (2014ZX0800908B)to HSG (http://www.most.gov.cn/kjjh/). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.