Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, 975 N. Warson Rd., St. Louis, MO 63132, U.S.A.
The root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne incognita, is an obligate parasite which depends entirely on the host plant for its nutrition. Root-knot nematodes induce the formation of a highly specialized feeding site consisting of several giant cells surrounded by a network of vascular tissues. Nutrients, including amino acids and sugars, are transferred apoplastically from the vascular tissues to the feeding site. Using Arabidopsis thaliana lacking the vascular-expressed amino acid permeases (AAP) AAP3 or AAP6, we demonstrate that disruption of amino acid transport can affect nematode parasitism. Nematode infestation levels are significantly reduced on the aap3 and aap6 mutants. AAP3 and AAP6 act distinctly in the transport of amino acids to the feeding site, as demonstrated by differences in their carrying capacity profiles. Furthermore, analyses of promoter: β-glucuronidase lines show different expression patterns for AAP3 and AAP6 in infected roots. In the aap3-3 mutant, part of the decrease in infestation is connected to a defect in early infection, where juveniles enter but then leave the root. Both aap3-3 and aap6-1 produce fewer females and produce more adult male nematodes. Additionally, detrimental effects are observed in the nematodes harvested from aap3-3 and aap6-1 mutants, including decreased egg hatching and infectivity and lower levels of lipid reserves. The transport of amino acids by AAP3 and AAP6 is important for nematode infection and success of the progeny.