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Plant Cell Environ. 2013 Feb;36(2):343-55. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3040.2012.02577.x. Epub 2012 Aug 7.

Laser microdissection of grapevine leaf phloem infected by stolbur reveals site-specific gene responses associated to sucrose transport and metabolism.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie e Ambientali, University of Udine, Via delle Scienze 208, I-33100 Udine, Italy.


Bois Noir is an emergent disease of grapevine that has been associated to a phytoplasma belonging to the XII-A stolbur group. In plants, phytoplasmas have been found mainly in phloem sieve elements, from where they spread moving through the pores of plates, accumulating especially in source leaves. To examine the expression of grapevine genes involved in sucrose transport and metabolism, phloem tissue, including sieve element/companion cell complexes and some parenchyma cells, was isolated from healthy and infected leaves by means of laser microdissection pressure catapulting (LMPC). Site-specific expression analysis dramatically increased sensitivity, allowing us to identify specific process components almost completely masked in whole-leaf analysis. Our findings showed decreased phloem loading through inhibition of sucrose transport and increased sucrose cleavage activity, which are metabolic changes strongly suggesting the establishment of a phytoplasma-induced switch from carbohydrate source to sink. The analysis focused at the infection site also showed a differential regulation and specificity of two pathogenesis-related thaumatin-like genes (TL4 and TL5) of the PR-5 family.

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