The small secreted effector protein MiSSP7.6 of Laccaria bicolor is required for the establishment of ectomycorrhizal symbiosis
Heng Kang, Xin Chen, Minna Kemppainen, Alejandro G. Pardo, Claire Veneault-Fourrey, Annegret Kohler, and Francis M. Martin
23 February 2020, Environmental Microbiology 22(4): 1435-1446; doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.14959
To establish and maintain a symbiotic relationship, the ectomycorrhizal fungus Laccaria bicolor releases mycorrhiza‐induced small secreted proteins (MiSSPs) into host roots. Here, we have functionally characterized the MYCORRHIZA‐iNDUCED SMALL SECRETED PROTEIN OF 7.6 kDa (MiSSP7.6) from L. bicolor by assessing its induced expression in ectomycorrhizae, silencing its expression by RNAi, and tracking in planta subcellular localization of its protein product. We also carried out yeast two‐hybrid assays and bimolecular fluorescence complementation analysis to identify possible protein targets of the MiSSP7.6 effector in Populus roots. We showed that MiSSP7.6 expression is upregulated in ectomycorrhizal rootlets and associated extramatrical mycelium during the late stage of symbiosis development. RNAi mutants with a decreased MiSSP7.6 expression have a lower mycorrhization rate, suggesting a key role in the establishment of the symbiosis with plants. MiSSP7.6 is secreted, and it localizes both to the nuclei and cytoplasm in plant cells. MiSSP7.6 protein was shown to interact with two Populus Trihelix transcription factors. Furthermore, when coexpressed with one of the Trihelix transcription factors, MiSSP7.6 is localized to plant nuclei only. Our data suggest that MiSSP7.6 is a novel secreted symbiotic effector and is a potential determinant for ectomycorrhiza formation.