Submitted to: Functional Plant Biology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/5/2008
Publication Date: 11/29/2008
Citation: Broz, A.K., Manter, D.K., Calloway, R.M., Paschke, M.W., Vivanco, J.M. 2008. A molecular approach to understanding plant-plant interactions in the context of invasion biology.Functional Plant Biology. 35:1123-1134.
Technical Abstract: Competition is a major determinant of plant community structure, and can influence the size and reproductive fitness of a species. Therefore, competitive responses may arise from alterations in gene expression and plant function when an individual is confronted with new competitors. We explored competition at the level of gene expression by hybridizing transcripts from Centaurea maculosa Lam., one of North America’s most invasive exotic plant species, to an Arabidopsis microarray chip. Centaurea was grown in competition with Festuca idahoensis Elmer, a native species that generally has weak competitive effects against Centaurea; Gaillardia aristata Pursh, a native species that tends to be a much stronger competitor against Centaurea; and alone (control). Some transcripts were induced or repressed to a similar extent regardless of the plant neighbor grown with Centaurea. Other transcripts showed differential expression that was specific to the competitor species, possibly indicating a species-specific aspect of Centaurea’s competitive response. To our knowledge, these results are the first to identify genes in an invasive plant that are induced or repressed by plant neighbors and provide a new avenue of insight into the molecular aspects of plant competitive ability.