A dnase from a fungal phytopathogen is a virulence factor likely deployed as counter defense against host-secreted extracellular dna

Hee Jin Park, Weiwei Wang, Gilberto Curlango-Rivera, Zhongguo Xiong, Zeran Lin, David A. Huskey, Martha C. Hawes, Hans D. Vanetten, B. Gillian Turgeon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Histone-linked extracellular DNA (exDNA) is a component of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). NETs have been shown to play a role in immune response to bacteria, fungi, viruses, and protozoan parasites. Mutation of genes encoding group A Streptococcus extracellular DNases (exDNases) results in reduced virulence in animals, a finding that implies that exDNases are deployed as counter defense against host DNA-containing NETs. Is the exDNA/exDNase mechanism also relevant to plants and their pathogens? It has been demonstrated previously that exDNA is a component of a matrix secreted from plant root caps and that plants also carry out an extracellular trapping process. Treatment with DNase I destroys root tip resistance to infection by fungi, the most abundant plant pathogens. We show that the absence of a single gene encoding a candidate exDNase results in significantly reduced virulence of a fungal plant pathogen to its host on leaves, the known infection site, and on roots. Mg2+-dependent exDNase activity was demonstrated in fungal culture filtrates and induced when host leaf material was present. It is speculated that the enzyme functions to degrade plant-secreted DNA, a component of a complex matrix akin to neutrophil extracellular traps of animals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere02805-18
JournalmBio
Volume10
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019

Keywords

  • Extracellular DNA
  • Fungi
  • NETs
  • Virulence determinants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Virology

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