G protein α subunit suppresses sporangium formation through a serine/threonine protein kinase in Phytophthora sojae

Min Qiu, Yaning Li, Xin Zhang, Mingrun Xuan, Baiyu Zhang, Wenwu Ye, Xiaobo Zheng, Francine Govers, Yuanchao Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Eukaryotic heterotrimeric guanine nucleotide-binding proteins consist of α, β, and γ subunits, which act as molecular switches to regulate a number of fundamental cellular processes. In the oomycete pathogen Phytophthora sojae, the sole G protein α subunit (Gα; encoded by PsGPA1) has been found to be involved in zoospore mobility and virulence, but how it functions remains unclear. In this study, we show that the Gα subunit PsGPA1 directly interacts with PsYPK1, a serine/threonine protein kinase that consists of an N-terminal region with unknown function and a C-terminal region with a conserved catalytic kinase domain. We generated knockout and knockout-complemented strains of PsYPK1 and found that deletion of PsYPK1 resulted in a pronounced reduction in the production of sporangia and oospores, in mycelial growth on nutrient poor medium, and in virulence. PsYPK1 exhibits a cytoplasmic-nuclear localization pattern that is essential for sporangium formation and virulence of P. sojae. Interestingly, PsGPA1 overexpression was found to prevent nuclear localization of PsYPK1 by exclusively binding to the N-terminal region of PsYPK1, therefore accounting for its negative role in sporangium formation. Our data demonstrate that PsGPA1 negatively regulates sporangium formation by repressing the nuclear localization of its downstream kinase PsYPK1.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1008138
JournalPLoS Pathogens
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2020

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