The heterologous expression of conserved Glycine max (soybean) mitogen activated protein kinase 3 (MAPK3) paralogs suppresses Meloidogyne incognita parasitism in Gossypium hirsutum (upland cotton)

Transgenic Res. 2022 Jun 28. doi: 10.1007/s11248-022-00312-y. Online ahead of print.


Two conserved Glycine max (soybean) mitogen activated protein kinase 3 (MAPK3) paralogs function in defense to the parasitic soybean cyst nematode Heterodera glycines. Gene Ontology analyses of RNA seq data obtained from MAPK3-1-overexpressing (OE) and MAPK3-2-OE roots compared to their control, as well as MAPK3-1-RNA interference (RNAi) and MAPK3-2-RNAi compared to their control, hierarchically orders the induced and suppressed genes, strengthening the hypothesis that their heterologous expression in Gossypium hirsutum (upland cotton) would impair parasitism by the root knot nematode (RKN) Meloidogyne incognita. MAPK3-1 expression (E) in G. hirsutum suppresses the production of M. incognita root galls, egg masses, and second stage juveniles (J2s) by 80.32%, 82.37%, and 88.21%, respectfully. Unexpectedly, egg number increases by 28.99% but J2s are inviable. MAPK3-2-E effects are identical, statistically. MAPK3-1-E and MAPK3-2-E decreases root mass 1.49-fold and 1.55-fold, respectively, as compared to the pRAP15-ccdB-E control. The reproductive factor (RF) of M. incognita for G. hirsutum roots expressing MAPK3-1-E or MAPK3-2-E decreases 60.39% and 50.46%, respectively, compared to controls. The results are consistent with upstream pathogen activated molecular pattern (PAMP) triggered immunity (PTI) and effector triggered immunity (ETI) functioning in defense to H. glycines. The experiments showcase the feasibility of employing MAPK3, through heterologous expression, to combat M. incognita parasitism, possibly overcoming impediments otherwise making G. hirsutum's defense platform deficient. MAPK homologs are identified in other important crop species for future functional analyses.

Keywords: Cotton; Effector triggered immunity (ETI) pathogen associated molecular pattern (PAMP) triggered immunity (PTI); Gene Ontology; Glycine max; Gossypium hirsutum; Mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK); Overexpression; Plant parasitic nematode; RNA interference (RNAi); Soybean.