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Differential Expression of Eight Chitinase Genes in Medicago truncatula Roots During Mycorrhiza Formation, Nodulation, and Pathogen Infection

July 2000 , Volume 13 , Number  7
Pages  763 - 777

Peter Salzer , 1 Athos Bonanomi , 1 Katinka Beyer , 1 Regina Vögeli-Lange , 1 Roger A. Aeschbacher , 1 Jürg Lange , 1 Andres Wiemken , 1 Dongjin Kim , 2 Douglas R. Cook , 2 and Thomas Boller 1

1Botanisches Institut der Universität Basel, Hebelstrasse 1, CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland; 2Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology and The Crop Biotechnology Center, Texas A&M University, College Station 77843-2132, U.S.A.

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Accepted 9 March 2000.

Expression of eight different chitinase genes, representing members of five chitinase classes, was studied in Medicago truncatula roots during formation of arbuscular mycorrhiza with Glomus intraradices, nodulation with Rhizobium meliloti, and pathogen attack by Phytophthora megasperma f. sp. medicaginis, Fusarium solani f. sp. phaseoli (compatible interactions with root rot symptoms), Ascochyta pisi (compatible, symptomless), and F. solani f. sp. pisi (incompatible, nonhost interaction). In the compatible plant-pathogen interactions, expression of class I, II, and IV chitinase genes was enhanced. The same genes were induced during nodulation. Transcripts of class I and II chitinase genes accumulated transiently during early stages of the interaction, and transcripts of the class IV chitinase gene accumulated in mature nodules. The pattern of chitinase gene expression in mycorrhizal roots was markedly different: Expression of class I, II, and IV chitinase genes was not enhanced, whereas expression of three class III chitinase genes, with almost no basal expression, was strongly induced. Two of these three (Mtchitinase III-2 and Mtchitinase III-3) were not induced at all in interactions with pathogens and rhizobia. Thus, the expression of two mycorrhiza-specific class III chitinase genes can be considered a hallmark for the establishment of arbuscular mycorrhiza in Medicago truncatula.

Additional keywords: chalcone synthase, trehalase.

© 2000 The American Phytopathological Society