How plants recognize pathogen-specific lipids

May 20, 2022

Discovery of a receptor recognizing a sphingolipid from Phytophthora infestans

Potato blight is a severe plant disease caused by an oomycete pathogen Phytophthora infestans. A collaborative research group including Kyoto University, Iwate Biotechnology Research Center, Nagoya University, the RIKEN CSRS, and the University of Tokyo identified for the first time a receptor in a plant that recognizes a sphingolipid from P. infestans and induces resistance against the lipid.

P. infestans-ceramide D (Pi-Cer D), a type of ceramide in the cell membrane of P. infestans, is known to induce defense responses in plants. The state-of-the-art technology Lumi-Map identified genes encoding the ceramidase NCER2 and the RDA2 receptor, which are essential to trigger defense responses after Pi-Cer D treatment, in a model plant Arabidopsis. The research group revealed that cleavage of Pi-Cer D from the pathogen by NCER2 produces a sphingolipid 9 Me-Spt, which binds to the RDA2 receptor to induce defense responses.

By revealing the mechanisms of how 9 Me-Spt binds to the RDA2 receptor and how the receptor functions in detail, it may become possible to develop receptors more sensible to exogenous sphingolipids and create crops more resistant to diseases.

Original article
Science doi:10.1126/science.abn0650
H. Kato, K. Nemoto, M. Shimizu, A. Abe, S. Asai, N. Ishihama, S. Matsuoka, T. Daimon, M. Ojika, K. Kawakita, K. Onai, K. Shirasu, M. Yoshida, M. Ishiura, D. Takemoto, Y. Takano, R. Terauchi,
"Recognition of pathogen-derived sphingolipids in Arabidopsis".
Ken Shirasu; Group Director
Shuta Asai; Senior Scientist
Nobuaki Ishihama; Senior Scientist
Plant Immunity Research Group
Minoru Yoshida; Group Director
Seiji Matsuoka; Technical Scientist
Chemical Genomics Research Group