Here, we report on the identification of Arabidopsis genes that are induced during compatible but not during incompatible interactions with the downy mildew pathogen Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis. This set of so-called compatible specific (CS) genes contrasts with the large group of defense-associated genes that is differentially expressed during both compatible and incompatible interactions. From the 17 identified CS genes, 6 belong to the ethylene response factor (ERF) family of transcription factor genes, suggesting that these ERF have a role during compatibility. The majority of CS genes are differentially regulated in response to various forms of abiotic stress. In silico analysis of the CS genes revealed an over-representation of dehydration-responsive element/C-repeat binding factor (DREB1A/CBF3) binding sites and EveningElement motifs in their promoter regions. The CS-ERF are closely related to the CBF transcription factors and could potentially bind the DREB1A/CBF3 promoter elements in the CS genes. Transcript levels of CS genes peak at 2 to 3 days postinoculation, when pathogen growth is highest, and decline at later stages of infection. The induction of several CS genes was found to be isolate specific. This suggests that the identified CS genes could be the direct or indirect targets of downy mildew effector proteins that promote disease susceptibility.
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