A SNARE-like protein and biotin are implicated in soybean cyst nematode virulence

Sadia Bekal, Leslie L. Domier, Biruk Gonfa, Naoufal Lakhssassi, Khalid Meksem, Kris N. Lambert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Phytoparasitic nematodes that are able to infect and reproduce on plants that are considered resistant are referred to as virulent. The mechanism(s) that virulent nematodes employ to evade or suppress host plant defenses are not well understood. Here we report the use of a genetic strategy (allelic imbalance analysis) to associate single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with nematode virulence genes in Heterodera glycines, the soybean cyst nematode (SCN). To accomplish this analysis, a custom SCN SNP array was developed and used to genotype SCN F3-derived populations grown on resistant and susceptible soybean plants. Three SNPs reproducibly showed allele imbalances between nematodes grown on resistant and susceptible plants. Two candidate SCN virulence genes that were tightly linked to the SNPs were identified. One SCN gene encoded biotin synthase (HgBioB), and the other encoded a bacterial-like protein containing a putative SNARE domain (HgSLP-1). The two genes mapped to two different linkage groups. HgBioB contained sequence polymorphisms between avirulent and virulent nematodes. However, the gene encoding HgSLP-1 had reduced copy number in virulent nematode populations and appears to produce multiple forms of the protein via intron retention and alternative splicing. We show that HgSLP-1 is an esophageal-gland protein that is secreted by the nematode during plant parasitism. Furthermore, in bacterial co-expression experiments, HgSLP-1 copurified with the SCN resistance protein Rhg1 ?-SNAP, suggesting that these two proteins physically interact. Collectively our data suggest that multiple SCN genes are involved in SCN virulence, and that HgSLP-1 may function as an avirulence protein and when absent it helps SCN evade host defenses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0145601
JournalPloS one
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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