The potato StLTPa7 gene displays a complex Ca2+-associated pattern of expression during the early stage of potato–Ralstonia solanacearum interaction


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Although nonspecific lipid transfer proteins (nsLTPs) are widely expressed during plant defence responses to pathogens, their functions and regulation are not fully understood. In this article, we report the isolation of a cDNA for the new nsLTP, StLTPa7, from cultivated potato (Solanum tuberosum) infected with Ralstonia solanacearum. The cDNA was predicted to encode a type 1 nsLTP containing an N-terminal signal sequence and possessing the characteristic features of nsLTPs. A phylogenetic analysis showed that the encoded amino acid sequence of the nsLTP was similar to those of other previously reported plant nsLTPs, which contain a putative calmodulin-binding site consisting of approximately 12 highly conserved amino acid residues. The expression of the StLTPa7 gene was studied during the early stages of potato–R. solanacearum interaction using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and Northern analyses, and a complex calcium (Ca2+)-associated pattern of expression was observed with the following features: (i) transcripts of the StLTPa7 gene were systemically up-regulated by infection with R. solanacearum; (ii) the StLTPa7 gene was stimulated by salicylic acid, methyl jasmonate, abscisic acid and Ca2+; (iii) qRT-PCR showed that, during the early stage of R. solanacearum infection, nsLTP transcripts accumulated over a time course that paralleled that of Ca2+ accumulation, detected using environmental scanning electron microscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray (EDAX) spectrometry; and (iv) the Ca2+ channel blocker, ruthenium red, partially blocked R. solanacearum-induced StLTPa7 expression. This report represents the first use of EDAX analysis to establish a synchrony between Ca2+ accumulation and nsLTP expression in response to potato–R. solanacearum interactions. Collectively, these results suggest that StLTPa7 may be a pathogen- and Ca2+-responsive plant defence gene.