TALE‐carrying bacterial pathogens trap host nuclear import receptors for facilitation of infection of rice

Authors: Shugang Hui Yarui Shi Jingjing Tian Li Wang Yueyue Li Shiping Wang Meng Yuan

Many plant‐pathogenic Xanthomonas rely on the secretion of virulence transcription activator‐like effector (TALE) proteins into plant cells to activate plant susceptibility genes to cause disease. The process is dependent on the binding of TALEs to specific elements of host target gene promoters in the plant nucleus. However, it is unclear how TALEs, after injection into host cells, are transferred from the plant cytoplasm into the plant nucleus, which is the key step of successful pathogen infection. Here, we show that the host plant cytoplasm/nuclear shuttle proteins OsImpα1a and OsImpα1b are key components for infection by the TALE‐carrying bacterial pathogens Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo) and Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzicola (Xoc), the causal agents of bacterial leaf blight and bacterial leaf streak, respectively, in rice. Direct interaction between the second nuclear localization signal of TALEs of Xoo or Xoc and OsImpα1a or OsImpα1b is required for the transportation of TALEs into the nucleus. Conversely, suppression of the expression of OsImpα1a and OsImpα1b genes attenuates the shuttling of TALEs from the cytoplasm into the nucleus and the induction of susceptibility genes, thus improving the broad‐spectrum disease resistance of rice to Xoo and Xoc. These results provide an applicable strategy for the improvement of resistance to TALE‐carrying pathogens in rice by moderate suppression of the expression of plant nuclear import receptor proteins.