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Defense Gene Expression Analysis OfArabidopsis ThalianaParasitized ByOrobanche Ramosa

C. Vieira Dos Santos, P. Letousey, P. Delavault, P. Thalouarn

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The infection of Arabidopsis thaliana roots with the obligate parasite Orobanche ramosa represents a useful model for a study of the molecular events involved in the host plant response to a parasitic plant attack. To avoid analysis problems due to the subterranean development of O. ramosa, we developed two in vitro co-culture systems: O. ramosa seedlings infesting Arabidopsis plantlet roots and callus tissues. We were then able to investigate the expression patterns of some host plant genes selected among genes known to be involved in metabolic pathways and resistance mechanisms activated during several plant-pathogen interactions including ethylene, isoprenoid, phenylpropanoid, and jasmonate biosynthesis pathways, oxidative stress responses, and pathogenesis-related proteins. Molecular analyses were carried out using polymerase chain reaction amplification methods allowing semiquantitative evaluation of transcript accumulation during early (first hours) and late (15 days) stages of infestation, in whole roots or parts close to the parasite attachment site. In A. thaliana, O. ramosa induced most of the general response signaling pathways in a transient manner even before its attachment to A. thaliana roots. However, no salicylic acid-dependent defense is observed because no activation of systemic acquired resistance markers is detectable, whereas genes, co-regulated by jasmonate and ethylene, do display enhanced expression.