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Active uptake of cyst nematode parasitism proteins into the plant cell nucleus

Elling, A.A., Davis, E.L., Hussey, R.S., Baum, T.J.
International journal for parasitology 2007 v.37 no.11 pp. 1269-1279
Heterodera glycines, cyst nematodes, parasitism, animal proteins, protein secretion, nucleotide sequences, amino acid sequences, gene expression, recombinant fusion proteins, active transport, cell nucleus, Allium cepa, Arabidopsis
Cyst nematodes produce parasitism proteins that contain putative nuclear localisation signals (NLSs) and, therefore, are predicted to be imported into the nucleus of the host plant cell. The in planta localisation patterns of eight soybean cyst nematode (Heterodera glycines) parasitism proteins with putative NLSs were determined by producing these proteins as translational fusions with the GFP and GUS reporter proteins. Two parasitism proteins were found to be imported into the nuclei of onion epidermal cells as well as Arabidopsis protoplasts. One of these two parasitism proteins was further transported into the nucleoli. Mutations introduced into the NLS domains of these two proteins abolished nuclear import and caused a cytoplasmic accumulation. Furthermore, we observed active nuclear uptake for three additional parasitism proteins, however, only when these proteins were synthesised as truncated forms. Two of these proteins were further transported into nucleoli. We hypothesise that nuclear uptake and nucleolar localisation are important mechanisms for H. glycines to modulate the nuclear biology of parasitised cells of its host plant.