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Transcriptome Analysis of Arabidopsis Clubroots Indicate a Key Role for Cytokinins in Disease Development

May 2006 , Volume 19 , Number  5
Pages  480 - 494

Johannes Siemens , 1 Ingo Keller , 2 , 4 Johannes Sarx , 1 Sabine Kunz , 1 Astrid Schuller , 1 Wolfgang Nagel , 2 Thomas Schmülling , 3 Martin Parniske , 4 and Jutta Ludwig-Müller 1

1Institut für Botanik and 2Zentrum für Hochleistungsrechnen, Technische Universität Dresden, 01062 Dresden, Germany; 3Institut für Biologie - Angewandte Genetik, Freie Universität Berlin, Albrecht-Thaer-Weg 6, 14195 Berlin, Germany; 4Department Biologie I, Bereich Genetik, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Maria-Ward-Str. 1a, 80638 München, Germany

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Accepted 2 January 2006.

The clubroot disease of the family Brassicaceae is caused by the obligate biotrophic protist Plasmodiophora brassicae. Infected roots undergo a developmental switch that results in the formation of aberrant roots (clubs). To investigate host gene expression during the development of the disease, we have used the Arabidopsis ATH1 genome array. Two timepoints were chosen, an early timepoint at which the pathogen has colonized the root but has induced only very limited change of host cell and root morphology and a later timepoint at which more than 60% of the host root cells were colonized and root morphology was drastically altered. At both timepoints, more than 1,000 genes were differentially expressed in infected versus control roots. These included genes associated with growth and cell cycle, sugar phosphate metabolism, and defense. The involvement of plant hormones in club development was further supported; genes involved in auxin homeostasis, such as nitrilases and members of the GH3 family, were upregulated, whereas genes involved in cytokinin homeostasis (cytokinin syn-thases and cytokinin oxidases/dehydrogenases) were already strongly downregulated at the early timepoint. Cytokinin oxidase/dehydrogenase overexpressing lines were disease resistant, clearly indicating the importance of cytokinin as a key factor in clubroot disease development.

Additional keywords: disease resistance, root gall.

© 2006 The American Phytopathological Society