Well-known as key regulators of cellular signalling in Caenorhabditis elegans and some animal-parasitic nematodes, DAF-16 and SKN-1n transcription factors in the phylum Nematoda modulate many pathways including antioxidant and oxidative stress responses. Gillet et al. provide an overview of the molecular interplay between plant parasitic nematodes (PPN) and their hosts focusing on the early stages of infection.
Following initial contact with the host plant roots, plant-parasitic nematodes (PPNs) activate basal immune responses. Defence priming involves the release in the apoplast of toxic molecules derived from reactive species or secondary metabolism. In turn, PPNs must overcome the poisonous and stressful environment at the plant–nematode interface. The ability of PPNs to escape this first line of plant immunity is crucial and will determine its virulence. PPN heterologs of C. elegans DAF-16 and SKN-1 proteins may play a role in successfully bypassing the first line of defence from the host plant. In the context of their hub status and mode of regulation, the authors suggest alternative strategies for control of PPNs through RNAi approaches.