Histone-linked extracellular DNA (exDNA) is a component of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). NETs have been shown to play a role in immune response to bacteria, fungi, viruses, and protozoan parasites. Mutation of genes encoding group A Streptococcus extracellular DNases (exDNases) results in reduced virulence in animals, a finding that implies that exDNases are deployed as counter defense against host DNA-containing NETs. Is the exDNA/exDNase mechanism also relevant to plants and their pathogens? It has been demonstrated previously that exDNA is a component of a matrix secreted from plant root caps and that plants also carry out an extracellular trapping process. Treatment with DNase I destroys root tip resistance to infection by fungi, the most abundant plant pathogens. We show that the absence of a single gene encoding a candidate exDNase results in significantly reduced virulence of a fungal plant pathogen to its host on leaves, the known infection site, and on roots. Mg2+-dependent exDNase activity was demonstrated in fungal culture filtrates and induced when host leaf material was present. It is speculated that the enzyme functions to degrade plant-secreted DNA, a component of a complex matrix akin to neutrophil extracellular traps of animals.
|Original language||English (US)|
|State||Published - Mar 1 2019|
- Extracellular DNA
- Virulence determinants
ASJC Scopus subject areas