Plant immunity suppression by an exo-β-1,3-glucanase and an elongation factor 1α of the rice blast fungus

Fungal cell walls undergo continual remodeling that generates β-1,3-glucan fragments as products of endo-glycosyl hydrolases (GHs), which can be recognized as pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) and trigger plant immune responses. How fungal pathogens suppress those responses is often poorly understood. Here, we study mechanisms underlying the suppression of β-1,3-glucan-triggered plant immunity by the blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae. We show that an exo-β-1,3-glucanase of the GH17 family, named Ebg1, is important for fungal cell wall integrity and virulence of M. oryzae. Ebg1 can hydrolyze β-1,3-glucan and laminarin into glucose, thus suppressing β-1,3-glucan-triggered plant immunity. However, in addition, Ebg1 seems to act as a PAMP, independent of its hydrolase activity. This Ebg1-induced immunity appears to be dampened by the secretion of an elongation factor 1 alpha protein (EF1α), which interacts and co-localizes with Ebg1 in the apoplast. Future work is needed to understand the mechanisms behind Ebg1-induced immunity and its suppression by EF1α.