Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



MPMI Vol. 18, No. 12, 2005, pp. 1247–1257. DOI: 10.1094/MPMI -18-1247


Root-knot plant-parasitic nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.) account for much of the damage inflicted to plants by nematodes. The feeding sites of these nematodes consist of “giant” cells, which have characteristics of transfer cells found in other parts of plants. Increased transport activity across the plasma membrane is a hallmark of transfer cells, and giant cells provide nutrition for nematodes; therefore, we initiated a study to identify the transport processes that contribute to the development and function of nematode- induced feeding sites. The study was conducted over a 4-week period, during which time the large changes in the development of giant cells were documented. The Arabidopsis ATH1 GeneChip was used to identify the many transporter genes that were regulated by nematode infestation. Expression of 50 transporter genes from 18 different gene families was significantly changed upon nematode infestation. Sixteen transporter genes were studied in more detail using real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction to determine transcript abundance in nematode- induced galls that contain giant cells and uninfested regions of the root. Certain genes were expressed primarily in galls whereas others were expressed primarily in the uninfested regions of the root, and a third group was expressed evenly throughout the root. Multiple transport processes are regulated and these may play important roles in nematode feeding-site establishment and maintenance.