Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Molecular Plant Pathology Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #356797

Research Project: Regulation of Gene Expression in Alfalfa Development and Stress Tolerance

Location: Molecular Plant Pathology Laboratory

Title: Identification and characterization of the first pectin methylesterase gene discovered in the root lesion nematode Pratylenchus penetrans

item VICENTE, CLAUDIA - Universidade De Evora
item Nemchinov, Lev
item MOTA, MANUEL - Universidade De Evora
item EISENBACK, JONATHAN - Virginia Tech
item Kamo, Kathryn
item VIEIRA, PAULO - Virginia Tech

Submitted to: PLOS ONE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/6/2019
Publication Date: 2/22/2019
Citation: Vicente, C.S., Nemchinov, L.G., Mota, M., Eisenback, J.D., Kamo, K.K., Vieira, P. 2019. Identification and characterization of the first pectin methylesterase gene discovered in the root lesion nematode Pratylenchus penetrans. PLoS One. 14 (2):e0212540.

Interpretive Summary: Worldwide crop losses due to plant-parasitic nematodes have been estimated at $118 billion annually, with root lesion nematodes (RLN), Pratylenchus spp., ranking third in terms of economic losses. RLN is a migratory species that attacks a broad range of agricultural crops, causing a reduction in root growth after infection, accompanied by the formation of lesions, necrotic areas, browning and cell death. To gain biological insights into parasitism strategy of RLN, this study focused on the enzymes, generated by the nematode during infection and involved in degradation of plant cell wall. For the first time, it was demonstrated that RLN encodes a pectin methylesterase, a well-known cell-wall degrading enzyme acting on pectin, a major component of plant cell wall. Prior to this work, a gene encoding PME has not been identified in any other nematodes. Results of this study will be of interest to the researchers in academia and government organizations working in the fields of nematology, plant pathology and plant molecular biology.

Technical Abstract: Similar to other plant-parasitic nematodes, root lesion nematodes possess an array of enzymes that are involved in degradation of the plant cell wall. Here we report identification of a gene encoding a cell wall-degrading enzyme, pectin methylesterase PME (EC, in the root lesion nematode Pratylenchus penetrans. Both genomic and coding sequences of the gene were cloned for this species, that included the presence of four introns which eliminated a possible contamination from bacteria. Expression of the Pp-pme gene was localized in the esophageal glands of P. penetrans as determined by in situ hybridization. Temporal expression of Pp-pme in planta was validated at early time points of infection. The possible function and activity of the gene were assessed by transient expression of Pp-pme in plants of Nicotiana benthamiana via a Potato virus X-based vector. To our knowledge, this is the first report on identification and characterization of a PME gene within the phylum Nematoda.