Endocytosis-mediated entry of a caterpillar effector into plants is countered by Jasmonate

Nat Commun. 2023 Oct 17;14(1):6551. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-42226-1.


Insects and pathogens release effectors into plant cells to weaken the host defense or immune response. While the imports of some bacterial and fungal effectors into plants have been previously characterized, the mechanisms of how caterpillar effectors enter plant cells remain a mystery. Using live cell imaging and real-time protein tracking, we show that HARP1, an effector from the oral secretions of cotton bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera), enters plant cells via protein-mediated endocytosis. The entry of HARP1 into a plant cell depends on its interaction with vesicle trafficking components including CTL1, PATL2, and TET8. The plant defense hormone jasmonate (JA) restricts HARP1 import by inhibiting endocytosis and HARP1 loading into endosomes. Combined with the previous report that HARP1 inhibits JA signaling output in host plants, it unveils that the effector and JA establish a defense and counter-defense loop reflecting the robust arms race between plants and insects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cyclopentanes / metabolism
  • Cyclopentanes / pharmacology
  • Endocytosis
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Insecta / metabolism
  • Moths* / metabolism
  • Oxylipins / metabolism
  • Plant Growth Regulators / metabolism
  • Plants* / metabolism


  • jasmonic acid
  • Cyclopentanes
  • Oxylipins
  • Plant Growth Regulators