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This article is part of the supplement: IEEE 7th International Conference on Bioinformatics and Bioengineering at Harvard Medical School

Open Access Research

In silico comparison of transcript abundances during Arabidopsis thaliana and Glycine max resistance to Fusarium virguliforme

Jiazheng Yuan12, Mengxia Zhu3, David A Lightfoot12, M Javed Iqbal1, Jack Y Yang4 and Khalid Meksem15*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Plant, Soil Sciences and Agriculture System, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Carbondale, IL 62901, USA

2 Department of Plant Biology, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, IL 62901, USA

3 Department of Computer Science, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, IL 62901, USA

4 Harvard Medical School, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02140, USA

5 Plants and Microbes Genomics and Genetics lab, Department of Plant, Soil Sciences, and Agriculture System, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Carbondale, IL 62901, USA

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BMC Genomics 2008, 9(Suppl 2):S6  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-9-S2-S6

Published: 16 September 2008

Abstract

Background

Sudden death syndrome (SDS) of soybean (Glycine max L. Merr.) is an economically important disease, caused by the semi-biotrophic fungus Fusarium solani f. sp. glycines, recently renamed Fusarium virguliforme (Fv). Due to the complexity and length of the soybean-Fusarium interaction, the molecular mechanisms underlying plant resistance and susceptibility to the pathogen are not fully understood. F. virguliforme has a very wide host range for the ability to cause root rot and a very narrow host range for the ability to cause a leaf scorch. Arabidopsis thaliana is a host for many types of phytopathogens including bacteria, fungi, viruses and nematodes. Deciphering the variations among transcript abundances (TAs) of functional orthologous genes of soybean and A. thaliana involved in the interaction will provide insights into plant resistance to F. viguliforme.

Results

In this study, we reported the analyses of microarrays measuring TA in whole plants after A. thaliana cv 'Columbia' was challenged with fungal pathogen F. virguliforme. Infection caused significant variations in TAs. The total number of increased transcripts was nearly four times more than that of decreased transcripts in abundance. A putative resistance pathway involved in responding to the pathogen infection in A. thaliana was identified and compared to that reported in soybean.

Conclusion

Microarray experiments allow the interrogation of tens of thousands of transcripts simultaneously and thus, the identification of plant pathways is likely to be involved in plant resistance to Fusarial pathogens. Dissection of the set functional orthologous genes between soybean and A. thaliana enabled a broad view of the functional relationships and molecular interactions among plant genes involved in F. virguliforme resistance.