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Cyst nematodes are obligate, sedentary endoparasites with a highly specialised biology and a huge economic impact in agriculture. Successful parasitism involves morphological and physiological modifications of the host cells which lead to the formation of specialised syncytial feeding structures in roots. The development of the syncytium is aided by a cocktail of nematode effectors that manipulate the host plant activities in a complex network of interactions through post-translational modifications. Traditional transcriptomic and proteomic approaches cannot display this functional proteomic information. Activity-based protein profiling (ABPP) is a powerful technology that can be used to investigate the activity of the proteome through activity-based probes. To better understand the functional proteomics of syncytium, ABPP was conducted on syncytia induced by the beet cyst nematode Heterodera schachtii in Arabidopsis roots. Our results demonstrated that the activity of several enzymes is differentially regulated in the syncytium compared to the control roots. Among those specifically activated in the syncytium are a putative S-formyl-glutathione hydrolase (SFGH), a putative methylesterase (MES) and two unidentified enzymes. In contrast, the activities of vacuolar processing enzymes (VPEs) are specifically suppressed in the syncytium. Competition labelling, quantitative gene expression and T-DNA knock-out mutants were used to further characterise the roles of the differentially regulated enzymes during plant-nematode interaction. In conclusion, our study will open the door to generate a comprehensive and integrated view of the host-pathogen warfare that results in the formation of long-term feeding sites for pathogens.

Original publication




Journal article


Plant Physiol Biochem

Publication Date





36 - 43


ABPP, Activity-based protein profiling, Arabidopsis thaliana, Heterodera schachtii, Plant–nematode interaction, Proteome, Syncytium, Animals, Arabidopsis, Arabidopsis Proteins, Gene Expression Regulation, Plant, Giant Cells, Host-Parasite Interactions, Plant Roots, Protein Processing, Post-Translational, Proteomics, Thiolester Hydrolases, Tylenchoidea