Arabinogalactan proteins accumulate in the cell walls of searching hyphae of the stem parasitic plants, Cuscuta campestris and Cuscuta japonica
Hozumi, A., Bera, S., Fujiwara, D., Obayashi, T., Yokoyama, R., Nishitani, K., Aoki, K.
Plant Cell Physiol.
Stem parasitic plants (Cuscuta spp.) develop a specialized organ called a haustorium to penetrate their hosts’ stem tissues. To reach the vascular tissues of the host plant, the haustorium needs to overcome the physical barrier of the cell wall, and the parasite-host interaction via the cell wall is a critical process. However, the cell wall components responsible for the establishment of parasitic connections have not yet been identified. In this study, we investigated the spatial distribution patterns of cell wall components at a parasitic interface using parasite-host complexes of Cuscuta campestris-Arabidopsis thaliana and Cuscuta japonica-Glycine max. We focused on arabinogalactan proteins (AGPs), because AGPs accumulate in the cell walls of searching hyphae of both C. campestris and C. japonica. We found more AGPs in elongated haustoria than in prehaustoria, indicating that AGP accumulation is developmentally regulated. Using in situ hybridization, we identified five genes in C. campestris that encode hyphal-expressed AGPs that belong to the fasciclin-like AGP (FLA) family, which were named CcFLAs. Three of the five CcFLAs were expressed in the holdfast, which develops on the Cuscuta stem epidermis at the attachment site for the host’s stem epidermis. Our results suggest that AGPs are involved in hyphal elongation and adhesion to host cells, and in the adhesion between the epidermal tissues of Cuscuta and its host.