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Research Project: Regulation of Gene Expression in Alfalfa Development and Stress Tolerance

Location: Molecular Plant Pathology Laboratory

Title: Transcriptome analysis of resistant and susceptible alfalfa cultivars infected with root-knot nematode Meloidogyne incognita

Author
item POSTNIKOVA, OLGA - Russian Academy Of Sciences
item Hult, Maria
item Shao, Jonathan
item Skantar, Andrea
item Nemchinov, Lev

Submitted to: PLoS ONE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/19/2015
Publication Date: 3/30/2015
Citation: Postnikova, O., Hult, M.N., Shao, J.Y., Skantar, A.M., Nemchinov, L.G. 2015. Transcriptome analysis of resistant and susceptible alfalfa cultivars infected with root-knot nematode Meloidogyne incognita. PLoS One. 10(3):e0123157.

Interpretive Summary: Nematodes are one of the major limiting factors in alfalfa production. Root knot nematodes are widely distributed and economically important sedentary endoparasites of agricultural crops and they may inflict significant damage to alfalfa fields. Little is known about mechanisms that contribute to defense responses in alfalfa against these pests. Identifying alfalfa genes that control nematode resistance will provide critical insights for alfalfa breeding programs. In this study we address these issues by applying high-throughput sequencing technologies to elucidate the role of genes associated with nematode resistance in alfalfa. It is expected that results of this work will be of interest to the researchers in academia and government organizations that are involved in alfalfa studies as well as to the breeders and alfalfa producers and representatives of industry.

Technical Abstract: Nematodes are one of the major limiting factors in alfalfa production. Root knot nematodes (RKN, Meloidogyne spp.) are widely distributed and economically important sedentary endoparasites of agricultural crops (Castagnone-Sereno et al. 2013) and they may inflict significant damage to alfalfa fields. As of today, no studies have been published on global gene expression profiling in alfalfa infected with RKN or any other plant parasitic nematode and very little information is available about molecular mechanisms that contribute to pathogenesis and defense responses in alfalfa against these pests and specifically against RKN. In this work, we performed root transcriptome analysis of resistant (cv. Moapa 69) and susceptible (cv. Lahontan) alfalfa cultivars infected with RKN Meloidogyne incognita, the most prevalent root-knot nematode species and a major pest worldwide (Potenza et al., 1996). A total of 1,701,622,580 pair-end reads were generated on an Illumina Hi-Seq 200 platform from roots of both cultivars and assembled into 45,595 and 47,590 transcripts in cvs Moapa 69 and Lahontan, respectively. Bioinformatic analysis revealed a number of common and unique genes that were differentially expressed in susceptible and resistant lines as a result of nematode infection. They were subsequently assigned to known Gene Ontology categories to describe their functional roles and associated biological processes. Real-time PCR validated expression changes in genes arbitrarily selected for experimental conformation. Candidate genes that contribute to protection against M. incognita in alfalfa were proposed and alfalfa-nematode interactions with respect to resistance are discussed.