An atypical N-ethylmaleimide sensitive factor enables the viability of nematode-resistant Rhg1 soybeans

Adam M. Bayless, Ryan W. Zapotocny, Derrick J. Grunwald, Kaela K. Amundson, Brian W. Diers, Andrew F. Bent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


N-ethylmaleimide sensitive factor (NSF) and α-soluble NSF attachment protein (α-SNAP) are essential eukaryotic housekeeping proteins that cooperatively function to sustain vesicular trafficking. The “resistance to Heterodera glycines 1” (Rhg1) locus of soybean (Glycine max) confers resistance to soybean cyst nematode, a highly damaging soybean pest. Rhg1 loci encode repeat copies of atypical α-SNAP proteins that are defective in promoting NSF function and are cytotoxic in certain contexts. Here, we discovered an unusual NSF allele (Rhg1-associated NSF on chromosome 07; NSFRAN07) in Rhg1+ germplasm. NSFRAN07 protein modeling to mammalian NSF/α-SNAP complex structures indicated that at least three of the five NSFRAN07 polymorphisms reside adjacent to the α-SNAP binding interface. NSFRAN07 exhibited stronger in vitro binding with Rhg1 resistance-type α-SNAPs. NSFRAN07 coexpression in planta was more protective against Rhg1 α-SNAP cytotoxicity, relative to WT NSFCh07. Investigation of a previously reported segregation distortion between chromosome 18 Rhg1 and a chromosome 07 interval now known to contain the Glyma.07G195900 NSF gene revealed 100% coinheritance of the NSFRAN07 allele with disease resistance Rhg1 alleles, across 855 soybean accessions and in all examined Rhg1+ progeny from biparental crosses. Additionally, we show that some Rhg1-mediated resistance is associated with depletion of WT α-SNAP abundance via selective loss of WT α-SNAP loci. Hence atypical coevolution of the soybean SNARE-recycling machinery has balanced the acquisition of an otherwise disruptive housekeeping protein, enabling a valuable disease resistance trait. Our findings further indicate that successful engineering of Rhg1-related resistance in plants will require a compatible NSF partner for the resistance-conferring α-SNAP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E4512-E4521
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number19
StatePublished - May 8 2018


  • NSF
  • Plant disease resistance
  • Rhg1
  • Soybean cyst nematode
  • Α-SNAP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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