2024 journal article

Effector Repertoire of the Sweetpotato Black Rot Fungal Pathogen Ceratocystis fimbriata

Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions®.

By: C. Parada-Rojas n, M. Stahr n, K. Childs* & L. Quesada-Ocampo n

UN Sustainable Development Goal Categories
3. Good Health and Well-being (OpenAlex)
Source: ORCID
Added: April 8, 2024

In 2015, sweetpotato producers in the United States experienced one of the worst outbreaks of black rot recorded in history, with up to 60% losses reported in the field and packing houses and at shipping ports. Host resistance remains the ideal management tool to decrease crop losses. Lack of knowledge of Ceratocystis fimbriata biology represents a critical barrier for the deployment of resistance to black rot in sweetpotato. In this study, we scanned the recent near chromosomal-level assembly for putative secreted effectors in the sweetpotato C. fimbriata isolate AS236 using a custom fungal effector annotation pipeline. We identified a set of 188 putative effectors on the basis of secretion signal and in silico prediction in EffectorP. We conducted a deep RNA time-course sequencing experiment to determine whether C. fimbriata modulates effectors in planta and to define a candidate list of effectors expressed during infection. We examined the expression profile of two C. fimbriata isolates, a pre-epidemic (1990s) isolate and a post-epidemic (2015) isolate. Our in planta expression profiling revealed clusters of co-expressed secreted effector candidates. Based on fold-change differences of putative effectors in both isolates and over the course of infection, we suggested prioritization of 31 effectors for functional characterization. Among this set, we identified several effectors that provide evidence for a marked biotrophic phase in C. fimbriata during infection of sweetpotato storage roots. Our study revealed a catalog of effector proteins that provide insight into C. fimbriata infection mechanisms and represent a core catalog to implement effector-assisted breeding in sweetpotato.