Magnaporthe oryzae is a fungal pathogen that causes rice (Oryza sativa) blast. SNAREs (soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptors) are key components in vesicle trafficking in eukaryotic cells and are known to contribute to fungal pathogen resistance. Syntaxin of Plants121 (SYP121), a Qa-SNARE, has been reported to function in nonhost resistance in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). However, the functions of SYP121 in host resistance to rice blast are largely unknown. Here, we report that the rice SYP121 protein, OsSYP121, accumulates at fungal penetration sites and mediates host resistance to rice blast. OsSYP121 is plasma membrane localized and its expression was obviously induced by the rice blast in both the blast-resistant rice landrace Heikezijing and the blast-susceptible landrace Suyunuo (Su). Overexpression of OsSYP121 in Su resulted in enhanced resistance to blast. Knockdown of OsSYP121 expression in Su resulted in a more susceptible phenotype. However, knockdown of OsSYP121 expression in the resistant landrace Heikezijing resulted in susceptibility to the blast fungus. The POsSYP121::GFP-OsSYP121 accumulated at rice blast penetration sites in transgenic rice, as observed by confocal microscopy. Yeast two-hybrid results showed that OsSYP121 can interact with OsSNAP32 (Synaptosome-associated protein of 32 kD) and Vesicle-associated membrane protein714/724. The interaction between OsSYP121 and OsSNAP32 may contribute to host resistance to rice blast. Our study reveals that OsSYP121 plays an important role in rice blast resistance as it is a key component in vesicle trafficking.

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