29 March 2022

Glutathione contributes to plant defence against parasitic cyst nematodes

M. Shamim Hasan, Divykriti Chopra, Anika Damm, Anna Koprivova, Stanislav Kopriva, Andreas J. Meyer, Stefanie Müller-Schüssele, Florian M. W. Grundler, Shahid Siddique - Molecular Plant Biology, 2022


Cyst nematodes (CNs) are an important group of root-infecting sedentary endoparasites that severely damage many crop plants worldwide. An infective CN juvenile enters the host’s roots and migrates towards the vascular cylinder, where it induces the formation of syncytial feeding cells, which nourish the CN throughout its parasitic stages. Here, we examined the role of glutathione (l-γ-glutamyl-l-cysteinyl-glycine) in Arabidopsis thaliana on infection with the CN Heterodera schachtiiArabidopsis lines with mutations pad2cad2, or zir1 in the glutamate–cysteine ligase (GSH1) gene, which encodes the first enzyme in the glutathione biosynthetic pathway, displayed enhanced CN susceptibility, but susceptibility was reduced for rax1, another GSH1 allele. Biochemical analysis revealed differentially altered thiol levels in these mutants that was independent of nematode infection. All glutathione-deficient mutants exhibited impaired activation of defence marker genes as well as genes for biosynthesis of the antimicrobial compound camalexin early in infection. Further analysis revealed a link between glutathione-mediated plant resistance to CN infection and the production of camalexin on nematode infection. These results suggest that glutathione levels affect plant resistance to CN by fine-tuning the balance between the cellular redox environment and the production of compounds related to defence against infection.

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