Phenazine biosynthesis protein MoPhzF regulates appressorium formation and host infection through canonical metabolic and noncanonical signaling function in Magnaporthe oryzae

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New Phytologist


Microbe-produced secondary metabolite phenazine-1-carboxylic acid (PCA) facilitates pathogen virulence and defense mechanisms against competitors. Magnaporthe oryzae, a causal agent of the devastating rice blast disease, needs to compete with other phyllosphere microbes and overcome host immunity for successful colonization and infection. However, whether M. oryzae produces PCA or it has any other functions remains unknown. Here, we found that the MoPHZF gene encodes the phenazine biosynthesis protein MoPhzF, synthesizes PCA in M. oryzae, and regulates appressorium formation and host virulence. MoPhzF is likely acquired through an ancient horizontal gene transfer event and has a canonical function in PCA synthesis. In addition, we found that PCA has a role in suppressing the accumulation of host-derived reactive oxygen species (ROS) during infection. Further examination indicated that MoPhzF recruits both the endoplasmic reticulum membrane protein MoEmc2 and the regulator of G-protein signaling MoRgs1 to the plasma membrane (PM) for MoRgs1 phosphorylation, which is a critical regulatory mechanism in appressorium formation and pathogenicity. Collectively, our studies unveiled a canonical function of MoPhzF in PCA synthesis and a noncanonical signaling function in promoting appressorium formation and host infection.

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