Background: Plant parasitic nematodes develop an intimate and long-term feeding relationship with their host plants. They induce a multi-nucleate feeding site close to the vascular bundle in the roots of their host plant and remain sessile for the rest of their life. Nematode secretions, produced in the oesophageal glands and secreted through a hollow stylet into the host plant cytoplasm, are believed to play key role in pathogenesis. To combat these persistent pathogens, the identity and functional analysis of secreted effectors can serve as a key to devise durable control measures. In this review, we will recapitulate the knowledge over the identification and functional characterization of secreted nematode effector repertoire from phytoparasitic nematodes. Research: Despite considerable efforts, the identity of genes encoding nematode secreted proteins has long been severely hampered because of their microscopic size, long generation time and obligate biotrophic nature. The methodologies such as bioinformatics, protein structure modeling, in situ hybridization microscopy, and protein-protein interaction have been used to identify and to attribute functions to the effectors. In addition, RNA interference (RNAi) has been instrumental to decipher the role of the genes encoding secreted effectors necessary for parasitism and genes attributed to normal development. Recent comparative and functional genomic approaches have accelerated the identification of effectors from phytoparasitic nematodes and offers opportunities to control these pathogens. Conclusion: Plant parasitic nematodes pose a serious threat to global food security of various economically important crops. There is a wealth of genomic and transcriptomic information available on plant parasitic nematodes and comparative genomics has identified many effectors. Bioengineering crops with dsRNA of phytonematode genes can disrupt the life cycle of parasitic nematodes and therefore holds great promise to develop resistant crops against plant-parasitic nematodes.
- Plant-parasitic nematodes (PPN)
- RNA interference (RNAi)