The promoter of the Arabidopsis thaliana Cel1 endo-1,4-β glucanase gene is differentially expressed in plant feeding cells induced by root-knot and cyst nematodes


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Transgenic tobacco and Arabidopsis thaliana carrying the Arabidopsis endo-1,4-β-glucanase (EC Cel1 promoter fused to the β-glucuronidase (GUS) reporter gene were infected with the root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne incognita, and either the tobacco cyst nematode, Globodera tabacum (tobacco), or beet cyst nematode, Heterodera schachtii (Arabidopsis). Cel1-driven GUS expression was detected in cell elongation zones of noninfected plants and within feeding sites (giant-cells) induced in roots of both plant hosts by M. incognita. The first detectable signs of Cel1 expression within developing giant-cells occurred at the onset of giant-cell formation and continued throughout the M. incognita life cycle. UidA (Gus) transcripts were detectable within giant-cells induced in tobacco roots at 11–13 days postinoculation with M. incognita as determined by in situ mRNA hybridization. By contrast, expression of the Cel1 promoter was not detected within developing syncytia induced in tobacco or Arabidopsis roots by G. tabacum and H. schachtii, respectively, at any time point. The results demonstrate specific regulation of cell wall-degrading enzymes that may be required for cell wall modifications during feeding cell formation by sedentary endoparasitic nematodes. Differential expression of Cel1 by cyst and root-knot nematodes further supports underlying mechanistic differences in giant-cell and syncytium formation.