Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Differential gene expression in incompatible interaction between wheat and stripe rust fungus revealed by cDNA-AFLP and comparison to compatible interaction

Xiaojie Wang1, Wei Liu1, Xianming Chen2, Chunlei Tang1, Yanling Dong1, Jinbiao Ma1, Xueling Huang1, Guorong Wei1, Qingmei Han1, Lili Huang1 and Zhensheng Kang1*

Author Affiliations

1 College of Plant Protection and Shaanxi Key Laboratory of Molecular Biology for Agriculture, Northwest A&F University, Yangling, Shaanxi, 712100, PR China

2 USDA-ARS and Department of Plant Pathology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-6430, USA

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BMC Plant Biology 2010, 10:9  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-10-9

Published: 12 January 2010



Stripe rust of wheat, caused by Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici (Pst), is one of the most important diseases of wheat worldwide. Due to special features of hexaploid wheat with large and complex genome and difficulties for transformation, and of Pst without sexual reproduction and hard to culture on media, the use of most genetic and molecular techniques in studying genes involved in the wheat-Pst interactions has been largely limited. The objective of this study was to identify transcriptionally regulated genes during an incompatible interaction between wheat and Pst using cDNA-AFLP technique


A total of 52,992 transcript derived fragments (TDFs) were generated with 64 primer pairs and 2,437 (4.6%) of them displayed altered expression patterns after inoculation with 1,787 up-regulated and 650 down-regulated. We obtained reliable sequences (>100 bp) for 255 selected TDFs, of which 113 (44.3%) had putative functions identified. A large group (17.6%) of these genes shared high homology with genes involved in metabolism and photosynthesis; 13.8% to genes with functions related to disease defense and signal transduction; and those in the remaining groups (12.9%) to genes involved in transcription, transport processes, protein metabolism, and cell structure, respectively. Through comparing TDFs identified in the present study for incompatible interaction and those identified in the previous study for compatible interactions, 161 TDFs were shared by both interactions, 94 were expressed specifically in the incompatible interaction, of which the specificity of 43 selected transcripts were determined using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). Based on the analyses of homology to genes known to play a role in defense, signal transduction and protein metabolism, 20 TDFs were chosen and their expression patterns revealed by the cDNA-AFLP technique were confirmed using the qRT-PCR analysis.


We uncovered a number of new candidate genes possibly involved in the interactions of wheat and Pst, of which 11 TDFs expressed specifically in the incompatible interaction. Resistance to stripe rust in wheat cv. Suwon11 is executed after penetration has occurred. Moreover, we also found that plant responses in compatible and incompatible interactions are qualitatively similar but quantitatively different soon after stripe rust fungus infection.