Plant Pathology Department


Date of this Version



Molecular Microbiology 94:1 (2014), pp 70–88.


Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.



Crop destruction by the hemibiotrophic rice pathogen Magnaporthe oryzae requires plant defense suppression to facilitate extensive biotrophic growth in host cells before the onset of necrosis. How this is achieved at the genetic level is not well understood. Here, we report that a M. oryzae sirtuin, MoSir2, plays an essential role in rice defense suppression and colonization by controlling superoxide dismutase (SOD) gene expression. Loss of MoSir2 function in Δsir2 strains did not affect appressorial function, but biotrophic growth in rice cells was attenuated. Compared to wild type, Δsir2 strains failed to neutralize plant-derived reactive oxygen species (ROS) and elicited robust defense responses in rice epidermal cells that included elevated pathogenesis-related gene expression and granular depositions. Deletion of a SOD-encoding gene under MoSir2 control generated Δsod1 deletion strains that mimicked Δsir2 for impaired rice defense suppression, confirming SOD activity as a downstream output of MoSir2. In addition, comparative protein acetylation studies and forward genetic analyses identified a JmjC domain-containing protein as a likely target of MoSir2, and a Δsir2 Δjmjc double mutant was restored for MoSOD1 expression and defense suppression in rice epidermal cells. Together, this work reveals MoSir2 and MoJmjC as novel regulators of early rice cell infection.