• Agrobacterium ;
  • differential gene expression;
  • metabolism;
  • microarray;
  • stalk tissue


Tumorigenesis of plants triggered by Agrobacterium tumefaciens has been investigated for over a century, but a global study on changes in gene expression in plant tumours during growth and development has received little attention so far due to technical difficulties. Recently a great advance in ‘omic’ technologies, e.g. microarray, proteome and transcriptome analyses, has allowed differential expression profiling of genes for metabolic regulation during plant tumour growth and development. Deeken et al.(The Plant Cell Online, 18, 3617) and Lee C.-W. et al.(The Plant Cell Online, 21, 2948) used a fold change approach to profile genes differentially expressed (DE) between Arabidopsis inflorescence stalks infected with Agrobacterium strains C58 (carrying T-DNA) or GV3101 (without T-DNA) and control stalks at 3 hours, 6 days and 35 days after inoculation. We utilised ranking analysis of microarray data, a modified t-test approach, to further analyse these microarray data and compared DE gene functioning in photosynthesis, energy, nucleotide, RNA, DNA, protein and lipid metabolism, biological defence, cell wall and signalling pathways in young (6-day-old) and mature (35-day-old) tumours. There were large differences in differential expression of genes for these basic metabolic pathways between young and mature tumours. In young tumours, more genes were up-regulated in most metabolic functional categories than down-regulated, whereas in mature tumours, genes involved in basic and major metabolic pathways were more down-regulated than up-regulated, strongly indicating that relative to the control stalk, many metabolic pathways were enhance in young tumours but decayed or tended to be decayed in mature tumours.