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Research article2017Peer reviewedOpen access

Proteomic Analysis of Phytophthora infestans Reveals the Importance of Cell Wall Proteins in Pathogenicity

Resjo, Svante; Brus, Maja; Ali, Ashfaq; Meijer, Harold J. G.; Sandin, Marianne; Govers, Francine; Levander, Fredrik; Grenville-Briggs, Laura; Andreasson, Erik


The oomycete Phytophthora infestans is the most harmful pathogen of potato. It causes the disease late blight, which generates increased yearly costs of up to one billion euro in the EU alone and is difficult to control. We have performed a large-scale quantitative proteomics study of six P. infestans life stages with the aim to identify proteins that change in abundance during development, with a focus on pre-infectious life stages. Over 10 000 peptides from 2061 proteins were analysed. We identified a number of abundance profiles of proteins that were up- or downregulated in different combinations of life stages. One of these profiles contained 59 proteins that were more abundant in germinated cysts and appressoria. A large majority of these proteins were not previously recognized as being appressorial proteins or involved in the infection process. Among those are proteins with putative roles in transport, amino acid metabolism, pathogenicity (including one RXLR effector) and cell wall structure modification. We analysed the expression of the genes encoding nine of these proteins using RT-qPCR and found an increase in transcript levels during disease progression, in agreement with the hypothesis that these proteins are important in early infection. Among the nine proteins was a group involved in cell wall structure modification and adhesion, including three closely related, uncharacterized proteins encoded by PITG_01131, PITG_01132, and PITG_16135, here denoted Piacwp1-3. Transient silencing of these genes resulted in reduced severity of infection, indicating that these proteins are important for pathogenicity. Our results contribute to further insight into P. infestans biology, and indicate processes that might be relevant for the pathogen while preparing for host cell penetration and during infection. The mass spectrometry data have been deposited to ProteomeXchange via the PRIDE partner repository with the dataset identifier PXD002446.

Published in

Molecular and Cellular Proteomics
2017, Volume: 16, number: 11, pages: 1958-1971