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Open Access Research article

Identification of genes differentially expressed during interaction of resistant and susceptible apple cultivars (Malus × domestica) with Erwinia amylovora

Angela Baldo3, Jay L Norelli4, Robert E Farrell5, Carole L Bassett4, Herb S Aldwinckle2 and Mickael Malnoy1*

Author Affiliations

1 FEM-IASMA Research Centre, Via E. Mach 1, 38010 San Michele all'Adige (TN) Italy

2 Department of Plant Pathology, Cornell University, 630 W. North St., Geneva, NY 14456 USA

3 USDA-ARS Plant Genetic Resources Unit, 630 W. North St., Geneva, NY 14456 USA

4 USDA-ARS Appalachian Fruit Research Station, 2217 Wiltshire Rd, Kearneysville, WV, 25430

5 Pennsylvania State University, 1031 Edgecomb Avenue, York, PA, 17403 USA

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BMC Plant Biology 2010, 10:1  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-10-1

Published: 4 January 2010

Abstract

Background

The necrogenic enterobacterium, Erwinia amylovora is the causal agent of the fire blight (FB) disease in many Rosaceaespecies, including apple and pear. During the infection process, the bacteria induce an oxidative stress response with kinetics similar to those induced in an incompatible bacteria-plant interaction. No resistance mechanism to E. amylovora in host plants has yet been characterized, recent work has identified some molecular events which occur in resistant and/or susceptible host interaction with E. amylovora: In order to understand the mechanisms that characterize responses to FB, differentially expressed genes were identified by cDNA-AFLP analysis in resistant and susceptible apple genotypes after inoculation with E. amylovora.

Results

cDNA were isolated from M.26 (susceptible) and G.41 (resistant) apple tissues collected 2 h and 48 h after challenge with a virulent E. amylovora strain or mock (buffer) inoculated. To identify differentially expressed transcripts, electrophoretic banding patterns were obtained from cDNAs. In the AFLP experiments, M.26 and G.41 showed different patterns of expression, including genes specifically induced, not induced, or repressed by E. amylovora. In total, 190 ESTs differentially expressed between M.26 and G.41 were identified using 42 pairs of AFLP primers. cDNA-AFLP analysis of global EST expression in a resistant and a susceptible apple genotype identified different major classes of genes. EST sequencing data showed that genes linked to resistance, encoding proteins involved in recognition, signaling, defense and apoptosis, were modulated by E. amylovora in its host plant. The expression time course of some of these ESTs selected via a bioinformatic analysis has been characterized.

Conclusion

These data are being used to develop hypotheses of resistance or susceptibility mechanisms in Malus to E. amylovora and provide an initial categorization of genes possibly involved in recognition events, early signaling responses the subsequent development of resistance or susceptibility. These data also provided potential candidates for improving apple resistance to fire blight either by marker-assisted selection or genetic engineering.