- The cross-species movement of mRNA from hosts to the parasitic plant Cuscuta pentagona has been reported previously, but has not been characterized quantitatively or with attention to uptake patterns and the fate of specific mRNAs.
- Real-time PCR and RNA-Seq approaches were used to identify and characterize mobile transcripts from tomato and Arabidopsis hosts into C. pentagona.
- Tomato transcripts of Gibberellic Acid Insensitive (SlGAI) and Cathepsin D Proteinase Inhibitor (SlPI) differed significantly in the rate of uptake into the parasite, but were then distributed over the length of the parasite shoot. When parasite shoots were detached from the hosts, the SlPI transcript concentrations in the parasite showed the greatest decrease within the first 8 h. Arabidopsis transcripts also varied in mobility into the parasite, and assay of specific regions of a Salt-inducible Zinc Finger Protein (AtSZF1) transcript revealed distinct patterns of abundance in the parasite.
- The uptake and distribution of host mRNAs into C. pentagona appears to vary among mRNAs, and perhaps even with the region of the mRNA under investigation. We propose that mRNAs traffic into the parasite via multiple routes, or that other mechanisms for selective uptake and mobility exist between host and parasite.