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PLoS Pathog. 2009 Jan;5(1):e1000266. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1000266. Epub 2009 Jan 16.

Parasitic nematodes modulate PIN-mediated auxin transport to facilitate infection.

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Department of Plant Systems Biology, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.


Plant-parasitic nematodes are destructive plant pathogens that cause significant yield losses. They induce highly specialized feeding sites (NFS) in infected plant roots from which they withdraw nutrients. In order to establish these NFS, it is thought that the nematodes manipulate the molecular and physiological pathways of their hosts. Evidence is accumulating that the plant signalling molecule auxin is involved in the initiation and development of the feeding sites of sedentary plant-parasitic nematodes. Intercellular transport of auxin is essential for various aspects of plant growth and development. Here, we analysed the spatial and temporal expression of PIN auxin transporters during the early events of NFS establishment using promoter-GUS/GFP fusion lines. Additionally, single and double pin mutants were used in infection studies to analyse the role of the different PIN proteins during cyst nematode infection. Based on our results, we postulate a model in which PIN1-mediated auxin transport is needed to deliver auxin to the initial syncytial cell, whereas PIN3 and PIN4 distribute the accumulated auxin laterally and are involved in the radial expansion of the NFS. Our data demonstrate that cyst nematodes are able to hijack the auxin distribution network in order to facilitate the infection process.

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