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Research article2019Peer reviewedOpen access

Transcriptomic response in symptomless roots of clubroot infected kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes) mirrors resistant plants

Ciaghi, Stefan; Schwelm, Arne; Neuhauser, Sigrid


BackgroundClubroot disease caused by Plasmodiophora brassicae (Phytomyxea, Rhizaria) is one of the economically most important diseases of Brassica crops. The formation of hypertrophied roots accompanied by altered metabolism and hormone homeostasis is typical for infected plants. Not all roots of infected plants show the same phenotypic changes. While some roots remain uninfected, others develop galls of diverse size. The aim of this study was to analyse and compare the intra-plant heterogeneity of P. brassicae root galls and symptomless roots of the same host plants (Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes) collected from a commercial field in Austria using transcriptome analyses.ResultsTranscriptomes were markedly different between symptomless roots and gall tissue. Symptomless roots showed transcriptomic traits previously described for resistant plants. Genes involved in host cell wall synthesis and reinforcement were up-regulated in symptomless roots indicating elevated tolerance against P. brassicae. By contrast, genes involved in cell wall degradation and modification processes like expansion were up-regulated in root galls. Hormone metabolism differed between symptomless roots and galls. Brassinosteroid-synthesis was down-regulated in root galls, whereas jasmonic acid synthesis was down-regulated in symptomless roots. Cytokinin metabolism and signalling were up-regulated in symptomless roots with the exception of one CKX6 homolog, which was strongly down-regulated. Salicylic acid (SA) mediated defence response was up-regulated in symptomless roots, compared with root gall tissue. This is probably caused by a secreted benzoic acid/salicylic acid methyl transferase from the pathogen (PbBSMT), which was one of the highest expressed pathogen genes in gall tissue. The PbBSMT derived Methyl-SA potentially leads to increased pathogen tolerance in uninfected roots.ConclusionsInfected and uninfected roots of clubroot infected plants showed transcriptomic differences similar to those previously described between clubroot resistant and susceptible hosts. The here described intra-plant heterogeneity suggests, that for a better understanding of clubroot disease targeted, spatial analyses of clubroot infected plants will be vital in understanding this economically important disease.


Clubroot; Host-pathogen interaction; Plasmodiophora brassicae; Brassica oleracea; Root transcriptome; Protist

Published in

BMC Plant Biology
2019, Volume: 19, article number: 288
Publisher: BMC

    Associated SLU-program

    SLU Plant Protection Network

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Agricultural Science

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