Magnaporthe oryzae Chloroplast Targeting Endo-β-1,4-Xylanase I MoXYL1A Regulates Conidiation, Appressorium Maturation and Virulence of the Rice Blast Fungus

Rice (N Y). 2022 Aug 12;15(1):44. doi: 10.1186/s12284-022-00584-2.


Endo-β-1,4-Xylanases are a group of extracellular enzymes that catalyze the hydrolysis of xylan, a principal constituent of the plant primary cell wall. The contribution of Endo-β-1,4-Xylanase I to both physiology and pathogenesis of the rice blast fungus M. oryzae is unknown. Here, we characterized the biological function of two endoxylanase I (MoXYL1A and MoXYL1B) genes in the development of M. oryzae using targeted gene deletion, biochemical analysis, and fluorescence microscopy. Phenotypic analysis of ∆Moxyl1A strains showed that MoXYL1A is required for the full virulence of M. oryzae but is dispensable for the vegetative growth of the rice blast fungus. MoXYL1B, in contrast, did not have a clear role in the infectious cycle but has a critical function in asexual reproduction of the fungus. The double deletion mutant was severely impaired in pathogenicity and virulence as well as asexual development. We found that MoXYL1A deletion compromised appressorium morphogenesis and function, leading to failure to penetrate host cells. Fluorescently tagged MoXYL1A and MoXYL1B displayed cytoplasmic localization in M. oryzae, while analysis of MoXYL1A-GFP and MoXYL1B-GFP in-planta revealed translocation and accumulation of these effector proteins into host cells. Meanwhile, sequence feature analysis showed that MoXYL1A possesses a transient chloroplast targeting signal peptide, and results from an Agrobacterium infiltration assay confirmed co-localization of MoXYL1A-GFP with ChCPN10C-RFP in the chloroplasts of host cells. MoXYL1B, accumulated to the cytoplasm of the host. Taken together, we conclude that MoXYL1A is a secreted effector protein that likely promotes the virulence of M. oryzae by interfering in the proper functioning of the host chloroplast, while the related xylanase MoXYL1B does not have a major role in virulence of M. oryzae.

Keywords: Chloroplast targeting peptide; Magnaporthe oryzae; Pathogenesis; Rice blast disease; Xylanases.