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SUMMARY

The Hg-SYV46 parasitism gene is expressed exclusively in the dorsal oesophageal gland cell of parasitic stages of the soybean cyst nematode, Heterodera glycines, and it encodes a secretory protein that contains a C-terminal motif of the CLAVATA3/ESR-related (CLE) family in Arabidopsis thaliana. In shoot and floral meristems of Arabidopsis, the stem cells secret CLV3, a founding member of the CLE protein family, that activates the CLV1/CLV2 receptor complex and negatively regulates WUSCHEL expression to restrict the size of the stem cell population. Mis-expression of Hg-SYV46 in Arabidopsis (ecotype Columbia-0) under control of the CaMV35S promoter resulted in a wus-like phenotype including premature termination of the shoot apical meristem and the development of flowers lacking the central gynoecium. The wus-like phenotype observed was similar to reports of over-expression of CLV3 and CLE40 in Arabidopsis, as was down-regulation of WUS expression in the shoot apices of 35S::Hg-SYV46/Col-0 plants. Expression of 35S::Hg-SYV46 in a clv3-1 mutant of Arabidopsis was able partially or fully to rescue the mutant phenotype, probably dependent upon localization and level of transgene expression. A short root phenotype, as reported for over-expression of CLV3, CLE40 and CLE19 in roots, was also produced in primary 35S::Hg-SYV46/Col-0 transgenic plants. The results suggest a functional similarity of HG-SYV46 to plant-secreted CLE ligands that may play a role in the differentiation or division of feeding cells induced in plant roots by parasitic nematodes.