The genome and lifestage-specific transcriptomes of a plant-parasitic nematode and its host reveal susceptibility genes involved in trans-kingdom synthesis of vitamin B5.
Plant-parasitic nematodes are a major threat to crop production in all agricultural systems. The scarcity of classical resistance genes highlights a pressing need to find new ways to develop nematode-resistant germplasm. Here, we sequence and assemble a high-quality phased genome of the model cyst nematode Heterodera schachtii to provide a platform for the first system-wide dual analysis of host and parasite gene expression over time, covering all major parasitism stages. Analysis of the hologenome of the plant-nematode infection site identified metabolic pathways that were incomplete in the parasite but complemented by the host. Using a combination of bioinformatic, genetic, and biochemical approaches, we show that a highly atypical completion of vitamin B5 biosynthesis by the parasitic animal, putatively enabled by a horizontal gene transfer from a bacterium, is required for full pathogenicity. Knockout of either plant-encoded or now nematode-encoded steps in the pathway significantly reduces parasitic success. Our experiments establish a reference for cyst nematodes, further our understanding of the evolution of plant-parasitism by nematodes, and show that congruent differential expression of metabolic pathways in the infection hologenome represents a new way to find nematode susceptibility genes. The approach identifies genome-editing-amenable targets for future development of nematode-resistant crops.
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/S006397/1)
Rank Prize Funds (Unknown)
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/R011311/1)