Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

Discovery of plant cellulases recruited by cyst nematodes during feeding site formation

In a search for plant proteins recruited by plant parasitic nematodes we concentrated on cell wall degrading and modifying proteins. In two target crops, potato and tomato, two cellulose isoforms were shown to be recruited by cyst nematodes. One was induced early in the infection process (till 5 days post inoculation), whereas the other was expressed over a more extended period of time. Moreover, the latter appeared to be expressed in cells that are about to be incorporated in the proliferating syncytium.

In addition, two expansins genes are activated by the presence of the cyst nematode. One isoform was strongly up-regulated in the immediate vicinity of the developing syncytium (= vascular cylinder), but not in the feeding cell itself. Another isoform was shown to be activated early during syncytium development. Both in situ hybridisation experiments and immunolocalisation studies were done to further confirm the involvement of these plants proteins nematode-induced feeding site formation. For the immunolocalisation approach specific polyclonal chicken antibodies (IgYs) were produced against individual isoforms of plant cellulases.

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