1887

Abstract

Some strains of the potato late blight pathogen, harbour a small extrachromosomal RNA called PiERE1. A previous study reported that this RNA symbiont does not noticeably affect its host. Here it is revealed that PiERE1 exerts subtle effects on , which result in greater thermotolerance during growth and an increase in secondary homothallism, i.e. oospore formation in the absence of the opposite mating type. The interaction can be considered mutualistic since these traits may increase the fitness of in nature. Assays of biomarkers for cellular stress revealed that an Hsp70 chaperone was upregulated by PiERE1. A genome-wide search for more members of the Hsp70 family identified ten belonging to the DnaK subfamily, one in the Hsp110/SSE subfamily, and pseudogenes. Four DnaK subfamily genes encoding predicted cytoplasmic or endoplasmic reticulum proteins were upregulated in strains harbouring PiERE1. This may explain the greater thermotolerance conferred by the RNA element, and suggests that Hsp70 may be a useful biomarker for testing organisms for the cellular effects of symbiotic elements.

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2010-07-01
2020-10-27
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