Centre for Plant Biochemistry and Biotechnology, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
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Accepted 8 January 1997.
The responsiveness of the cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter in feeding sites developed by both sexes of Heterodera schachtii and female Meloidogyne incognita has been studied. The objective was to establish the value of green-fluorescent protein (GFP) as a nondestructive reporter gene system for characterizing promoter activity at nematode feeding sites in vivo. Growth units were devised that allowed individual feeding sites in roots of Arabidopsis thaliana to be observed by both bright-field and epifluorescent illumination. Changes in GFP expression were visually observed under experimental conditions that resulted in chloroplast formation in syncytia but not other root cells. Changes in GFP levels altered the extent of quenching, by this protein, of red light emitted by chlorophyll within the chloroplasts under violet excitation. Image analysis provided a semiquantitative basis for simultaneous measurement of changes in GFP fluorescence and the unquenched emission by chlorophyll. GFP levels were constant in cells surrounding the syncytium induced by H. schachtii, but they fell progressively from 10 to 35 days postinfection within this structure. Significant reduction in GFP levels was not limited to the early part of the time course but also occurred between 27 and 35 days postinfection. GFP was detected by immunoblotting in females of M. incognita but not in H. schachtii parasitizing similar GFP-expressing roots.
© 1997 The American Phytopathological Society