Unraveling The Host-Selective Toxic Interaction of Cassiicolin with Lipid Membranes and Its Cytotoxicity 

Cassiicolin (Cas), a toxin produced by Corynespora cassiicola, is responsible for Corynespora leaf fall disease in susceptible rubber trees. Currently, the molecular mechanisms of the cytotoxicity of Cas and its host selectivity have not been fully elucidated. Here, we analyzed the binding of Cas1 and Cas2 to membranes consisting of different plant lipidsand their membrane disruption activities. Using high-speed atomic force microscopy and confocal microscopy, we reveal that the binding and disruption activities of Cas1 and Cas2 on lipid membranes are strongly dependent on the specificplant lipids. The negative phospholipids, glycerolipids, and sterols are more sensitive to membrane damage caused by Cas1 and Cas2 than neutral phospholipids and betaine lipids. Mature Cas1 and Cas2 play an essential role in causing membrane disruption. Cytotoxicity tests on rubber leaves of Rubber Research Institute of Vietnam (RRIV) 1, RRIV 4, and Prang Besar (PB) 255 clones suggest that the toxins cause necrosis of rubber leaves, except for the strong resistance of PB 255 against Cas2. Cryogenic scanning electron microscopy analyses of necrotic leaf tissues treated with Cas1 confirmthat cytoplasmic membranes are vulnerable to the toxin. Thus, the host selectivity of Cas toxin is attained by the lipiddependent binding activity of Cas to the membrane, and the cytotoxicity of Cas arises from its ability to form biofilm-like
structures and to disrupt specific membranes