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August 13, 2018

The genome of the soybean cyst nematode (Heterodera glycines) reveals complex patterns of duplications involved in the evolution of parasitism genes

Heterodera glycines, commonly referred to as the soybean cyst nematode (SCN), is an obligatory and sedentary plant parasite that causes over a billion-dollar yield loss to soybean production annually. Although there are genetic determinants that render soybean plants resistant to certain nematode genotypes, resistant soybean cultivars are increasingly ineffective because their multi-year usage has selected for virulent H. glycines populations. The parasitic success of H. glycines relies on the comprehensive re-engineering of an infection site into a syncytium, as well as the long-term suppression of host defense to ensure syncytial viability. At the forefront of these complex molecular interactions are…

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June 11, 2018

An extracellular Argonaute protein mediates export of repeat-associated small RNAs into vesicles in parasitic nematodes

Mobile small RNAs are an integral component of the arms race between plants and fungal parasites, and several studies suggest microRNAs could similarly operate between parasitic nematodes and their animal hosts. However, whether and how specific sequences are selected for export by parasites is unknown. Here we use density gradient purification and proteinase K sensitivity analysis to demonstrate that a specific Argonaute protein (exWAGO) is secreted in extracellular vesicles (EVs) released by the gastrointestinal nematode Heligmosomodies bakeri, at multiple copies per EV. Phylogenetic and gene expression analyses demonstrate exWAGO is highly conserved and abundantly expressed in related parasites, including the…

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