Comparative analysis of the role of cytokinin in feeding site formation induced by cyst and root-knot nematodes
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Cyst and root-knot nematodes are obligate plant parasites of global economic importance with a remarkable ability to reprogram root cells into unique feeding sites. Previous studies have suggested a role for cytokinin in feeding site formation induced by these two types of nematodes, but the mechanistic details have not yet been described. Using Arabidopsis as a host plant species, this study shows a comparative analysis of cytokinin genes in response to the beet cyst nematode (BCN), Heterodera schachtii, and the root-knot nematode (RKN), Meloidogyne incognita. Distinct differences in the regulation of cytokinin biosynthesis, catabolism and signaling genes in response to BCN and RKN infection were found, suggesting differential manipulation of the cytokinin pathway by these two nematode species. Furthermore, key cytokinin genes contributing to BCN and RKN disease susceptibility were identified. This study also evaluated ARABIDOPSIS HISTIDINE KINASE (AHK), ahk2/3, ahk2/4 and ahk3/4 receptor mutant lines in response to BCN and RKN infection and found a decrease in susceptibility compared to the wild type control, Col-0. An analysis of ahk double mutants using CYCB1:GUS/ahk introgressed lines revealed contrasting differences in the cytokinin receptors controlling cell cycle activation in feeding sites caused by RKN and BCN. Results from these studies could be used in the future to engineer novel forms of nematode resistance in crops of economic importance.
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