Because pathogens use diverse infection strategies, plants cannot use one-size-fits-all defence and modulate defence responses based on the nature of pathogens and pathogenicity mechanism. Here, we report that a rice glycoside hydrolase (GH) plays contrasting roles in defence depending on whether a pathogen is hemibiotrophic or necrotrophic. The Arabidopsis thaliana MORE1 (Magnaporthe oryzae resistance 1) gene, encoding a member of the GH10 family, is needed for resistance against M. oryzae and Alternaria brassicicola, a fungal pathogen infecting A. thaliana as a necrotroph. Among 13 rice genes homologous to MORE1, 11 genes were induced during the biotrophic or necrotrophic stage of infection by M. oryzae. CRISPR/Cas9-assisted disruption of one of them (OsMORE1a) enhanced resistance against hemibiotrophic pathogens M. oryzae and Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae but increased susceptibility to Cochliobolus miyabeanus, a necrotrophic fungus, suggesting that OsMORE1a acts as a double-edged sword depending on the mode of infection (hemibiotrophic vs. necrotrophic). We characterized molecular and cellular changes caused by the loss of MORE1 and OsMORE1a to understand how these genes participate in modulating defence responses. Although the underlying mechanism of action remains unknown, both genes appear to affect the expression of many defence-related genes. Expression patterns of the GH10 family genes in A. thaliana and rice suggest that other members also participate in pathogen defence.
Keywords: Arabidopsis; cell wall; crop protection; genome editing; rice (Oryza sativa); susceptibility (S) gene.
© 2021 The Authors. Molecular Plant Pathology published by British Society for Plant Pathology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.