Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801, U.S.A.
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Accepted 26 October 2002.
Root-knot nematodes are obligate plant parasites that alter plant cell growth and development by inducing the formation of giant cells for feeding. Nematodes inject secretions from their esophageal glands through their stylet and into plant cells to induce giant cell formation. Meloidogyne javanica chorismate mutase 1 (MjCM-1) is one such esophageal gland protein likely to be secreted from the nematode as giant cells form. MjCM-1 has two domains, an N-terminal chorismate mutase (CM) domain and a C-terminal region of unknown function. It is the N-terminal CM domain of the protein that is the predominant form produced in root-knot nematodes. Transgenic expression of MjCM-1 in soybean hairy roots results in a phenotype of reduced and aborted lateral roots. Histological studies demonstrate the absence of vascular tissue in hairy roots expressing MjCM-1. The phenotype of MjCM-1 expressed at low levels can be rescued by the addition of indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), indicating MjCM-1 overexpression reduces IAA biosynthesis. We propose MjCM-1 lowers IAA by causing a competition for chorismate, resulting in an alteration of chorismate-derived metabolites and, ultimately, in plant cell development. Therefore, we hypothesize that MjCM-1 is involved in allowing nematodes to establish a parasitic relationship with the host plant.
© 2003 The American Phytopathological Society