Live cell imaging of the cytoskeleton in Phytophthora pathogens reveals unique actin and microtubule configurations

K. Kots, T. Ketelaar, D.J. van den Hoogen, H.J.G. Meijer, F. Govers

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract


The cytoskeleton is a dynamic but well organized intracellular network that is essential for proper functioning of eukaryotic cells. We study the cytoskeleton in Phytophthora species, oomycete plant pathogens that cause devastating diseases worldwide. We use Lifeact-eGFP expressing Phytophthora infestans for live cell imaging of the actin cytoskeleton in various developmental stages. Previously we identified actin plaques as highly immobile, long-lived structures that are unique for oomycetes. Here we present two other unique actin configurations; one associated with plug deposition in germ tubes and the
other with appressoria, infection structures formed prior to host cell penetration. Plugs are composed of cell wall material that is deposited in hyphae emerging from cysts to seal off the cytoplasm-depleted base after cytoplasm retraction towards the growing tip. Preceding plug formation a typical local actin
accumulation was observed that remained associated with the leading edge during plug deposition. In appressoria we observed an aster-like actin configuration at the contact point with the underlying surface. These findings strongly suggest a role for the actin cytoskeleton in plug formation and plant cell
penetration. For live cell imaging of the microtubule cytoskeleton we have generated a Phytophthora palmivora transformant expressing GFP-α-tubulin allowing us to visualize the dynamics of microtubules in oomycetes for the first time. The data presented here provide a better understanding of the structure
and functioning of the Phytophthora cytoskeleton. The long term goal is to uncover oomycete or Phytophthora specific features in the cytoskeleton that might be instrumental for drug design.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBook of Abstracts Oomycete Molecular Genetics Network Workshop, Pacific Grove, CA, USA 11-14 March 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventOomycete Molecular Genetics Network Meeting 2017 - Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, CA, United States
Duration: 11 Mar 201714 Mar 2017


ConferenceOomycete Molecular Genetics Network Meeting 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityPacific Grove, CA


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