Targeted transcriptomics reveals signatures of large-scale independent origins and concerted regulation of effector genes in Radopholus similis.

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Pellegrin, Clement 
Wram, Catherine 

The burrowing nematode, Radopholus similis, is an economically important plant-parasitic nematode that inflicts damage and yield loss to a wide range of crops. This migratory endoparasite is widely distributed in warmer regions and causes extensive destruction to the root systems of important food crops (e.g., citrus, banana). Despite the economic importance of this nematode, little is known about the repertoire of effectors owned by this species. Here we combined spatially and temporally resolved next-generation sequencing datasets of R. similis to select a list of candidates for the identification of effector genes for this species. We confirmed spatial expression of transcripts of 30 new candidate effectors within the esophageal glands of R. similis by in situ hybridization, revealing a large number of pioneer genes specific to this nematode. We identify a gland promoter motif specifically associated with the subventral glands (named Rs-SUG box), a putative hallmark of spatial and concerted regulation of these effectors. Nematode transcriptome analyses confirmed the expression of these effectors during the interaction with the host, with a large number of pioneer genes being especially abundant. Our data revealed that R. similis holds a diverse and emergent repertoire of effectors, which has been shaped by various evolutionary events, including neofunctionalization, horizontal gene transfer, and possibly by de novo gene birth. In addition, we also report the first GH62 gene so far discovered for any metazoan and putatively acquired by lateral gene transfer from a bacterial donor. Considering the economic damage caused by R. similis, this information provides valuable data to elucidate the mode of parasitism of this nematode.

Research Article, Biology and life sciences, Medicine and health sciences
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PLoS Pathog
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Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/R011311/1)
Rank Prize Funds (Unknown)
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) Marie Sk?odowska-Curie actions (833420)
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) Marie Sk?odowska-Curie actions (882941)
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/S006397/1)