TAL effector driven induction of a SWEET gene confers susceptibility to bacterial blight of cotton

Kevin L. Cox, Fanhong Meng, Katherine E. Wilkins, Fangjun Li, Ping Wang, Nicholas J. Booher, Sara C.D. Carpenter, Li Qing Chen, Hui Zheng, Xiquan Gao, Yi Zheng, Zhangjun Fei, John Z. Yu, Thomas Isakeit, Terry Wheeler, Wolf B. Frommer, Ping He, Adam J. Bogdanove, Libo Shan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transcription activator-like (TAL) effectors from Xanthomonas citri subsp. malvacearum (Xcm) are essential for bacterial blight of cotton (BBC). Here, by combining transcriptome profiling with TAL effector-binding element (EBE) prediction, we show that GhSWEET10, encoding a functional sucrose transporter, is induced by Avrb6, a TAL effector determining Xcm pathogenicity. Activation of GhSWEET10 by designer TAL effectors (dTALEs) restores virulence of Xcm avrb6 deletion strains, whereas silencing of GhSWEET10 compromises cotton susceptibility to infections. A BBC-resistant line carrying an unknown recessive b6 gene bears the same EBE as the susceptible line, but Avrb6-mediated induction of GhSWEET10 is reduced, suggesting a unique mechanism underlying b6-mediated resistance. We show via an extensive survey of GhSWEET transcriptional responsiveness to different Xcm field isolates that additional GhSWEETs may also be involved in BBC. These findings advance our understanding of the disease and resistance in cotton and may facilitate the development cotton with improved resistance to BBC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number15588
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - May 24 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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