Phytophthora capsici is a soilborne plant pathogen capable of infecting a wide range of plants, including many solanaceous crops. However, genetic resistance and fungicides often fail to manage P. capsici due to limited knowledge on the molecular biology and basis of P. capsici pathogenicity. To begin to rectify this situation, Illumina RNA-Seq was used to perform massively parallel sequencing of three cDNA samples derived from P. capsici mycelia (MY), zoospores (ZO) and germinating cysts with germ tubes (GC). Over 11 million reads were generated for each cDNA library analyzed. After read mapping to the gene models of P. capsici reference genome, 13,901, 14,633 and 14,695 putative genes were identified from the reads of the MY, ZO and GC libraries, respectively. Comparative analysis between two of samples showed major differences between the expressed gene content of MY, ZO and GC stages. A large number of genes associated with specific stages and pathogenicity were identified, including 98 predicted effector genes. The transcriptional levels of 19 effector genes during the developmental and host infection stages of P. capsici were validated by RT-PCR. Ectopic expression in Nicotiana benthamiana showed that P. capsici RXLR and Crinkler effectors can suppress host cell death triggered by diverse elicitors including P. capsici elicitin and NLP effectors. This study provides a first look at the transcriptome and effector arsenal of P. capsici during the important pre-infection stages.
This article was published online in PLos One and is free to access.