Campus Units

Plant Pathology and Microbiology

Document Type


Publication Version

Accepted Manuscript

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

New Phytologist





  • Cyst nematodes induce a multicellular feeding site within roots called a syncytium. It remains unknown how root cells are primed for incorporation into the developing syncytium. Furthermore, it is an enigma how CLAVATA3/ESR (CLE) peptide effectors secreted into the cytoplasm of the initial feeding cell could have an effect on plant cells so distant from where the nematode is feeding as the syncytium expands.
  • Here we describe a novel translocation signal within nematode CLE effectors that is recognized by plant cell secretory machinery to redirect these peptides from the cytoplasm to the apoplast of plant cells.
  • We show that the translocation signal is functionally conserved across CLE effectors identified in nematode species spanning three genera and multiple plant species, operative across plant cell types, and can traffic other unrelated small peptides from the cytoplasm to the apoplast of host cells via a previously unknown post‐translational mechanism of ER translocation.
  • Our results uncover an unprecedented mechanism of effector trafficking by any plant pathogen to date and illustrates how phytonematodes can deliver effector proteins into host cells and then hijack plant cellular processes for their export back out of the cell to function as external signaling molecules to distant cells.


This is a manuscript of an article published as Wang, Jianying, Andi Dhroso, Xunliang Liu, Thomas J. Baum, Richard S. Hussey, Eric L. Davis, Xiaohong Wang, Dmitry Korkin, and Melissa G. Mitchum. "Phytonematode Peptide Effectors Exploit a Host Post‐Translational Trafficking Mechanism to the ER using a Novel Translocation Signal." New Phytologist (2020). doi: 10.1111/nph.16765.


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