Lehrstuhl Phytopathologie, Fachbereich Biologie, Universität Konstanz, Universitätsstr. 10, 78457 Konstanz, Germany
Classical analysis of obligate biotrophic fungi revealed changes of enzyme activities or the concentration of metabolites in infected areas. However, due to the intricate integration of host and parasite metabolism, it was not possible to delineate the individual contributions of the two organisms. Here, we used reverse-transcription-polymerase chain reaction to monitor expression of genes from the rust fungus Uromyces fabae and its host Vicia faba. We focused on genes relevant for amino acid and sugar uptake and metabolism in both organisms. In the fungus, mRNA for plasma membrane ATPase was detected in spores and all infection structures. Two genes for fungal amino acid transporters showed dissimilar regulation. Transcripts for one were detected during all developmental stages, whereas those of the other appeared to be under developmental control. The latter result was also obtained for the so far only hexose transporter known from U. fabae and for one gene of the thiamine biosynthesis pathway. In the host plant, transcripts for two ATPases analyzed generally declined upon infection. Sucrose synthase expression increased in leaves, but decreased in roots. Transcript levels of glucose and sucrose transporter genes appeared unchanged. Markers for amino acid metabolism did not show a uniform trend: transcripts for asparagine synthetase increased, whereas those for two amino acid transporters either decreased or increased. Our analyses revealed that not only expression of genes in the immediate vicinity of the primary infection site is altered, but infection also influences transcription of certain genes in remote organs, like stems and roots. This demonstrates alterations in the source-sink relationships.