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Oral: See the Unseen: Metatranscriptomics Unviels Plant and Vector-Pathogen Interactions


Metatranscriptomics: Principles and Applications for Studying Plant-Pathogen Interactions
L. GUO (1), L. Ma (2), R. Wick (2), K. Allen (2), K. Vescio (2) (1) University of Massachusetts, Amherst, U.S.A.; (2) University of Massachusetts, Amherst, U.S.A.

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Benefited from low sequencing costs and the rapid advancement in bioinformatics, the next generation sequencing technology has been applied to a wide range of organisms including plants and their pathogens, which has transformed the field of plant pathology. One application of such technology is metatranscriptomics. Capable of simultaneously profiling transcriptomes of multiple species with or without existing genome sequences, metatranscriptomics offers an unprecedented opportunity to study host-pathogen interactions. However, the successful application of this sophisticated technology driven by large quantity of data depends on many factors, including experimental designs, choice of data analysis software and biological interpretation of results etc. In this presentation, we will present an introduction of basic principles, experimental designs of metatranscriptomics and its applications in plant-pathogen interactions. Practically, we will discuss two common data analysis pipelines, one based on reference-guided transcript assembly and the other based on de novo transcript assembly. Using examples of two different pathosystems, Fusarium wilt of Arabidopsis (genomic information for both genomes are published) and Basil downy mildew (genomic information is available for neither the host nor the obligate parasite), we will demonstrate the power of metatranscriptomics on identifying key genes and pathways involved in host immunity and pathogen virulence.