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BMC Plant Biol. 2014 Apr 16;14:96. doi: 10.1186/1471-2229-14-96.

Arabidopsis genes, AtNPR1, AtTGA2 and AtPR-5, confer partial resistance to soybean cyst nematode (Heterodera glycines) when overexpressed in transgenic soybean roots.

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United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Soybean Genomics and Improvement Laboratory, Beltsville, MD 20705, USA.



Extensive studies using the model system Arabidopsis thaliana to elucidate plant defense signaling and pathway networks indicate that salicylic acid (SA) is the key hormone triggering the plant defense response against biotrophic and hemi-biotrophic pathogens, while jasmonic acid (JA) and derivatives are critical to the defense response against necrotrophic pathogens. Several reports demonstrate that SA limits nematode reproduction.


Here we translate knowledge gained from studies using Arabidopsis to soybean. The ability of thirty-one Arabidopsis genes encoding important components of SA and JA synthesis and signaling in conferring resistance to soybean cyst nematode (SCN: Heterodera glycines) are investigated. We demonstrate that overexpression of three of thirty-one Arabidoposis genes in transgenic soybean roots of composite plants decreased the number of cysts formed by SCN to less than 50% of those found on control roots, namely AtNPR1(33%), AtTGA2 (38%), and AtPR-5 (38%). Three additional Arabidopsis genes decreased the number of SCN cysts by 40% or more: AtACBP3 (53% of the control value), AtACD2 (55%), and AtCM-3 (57%). Other genes having less or no effect included AtEDS5 (77%), AtNDR1 (82%), AtEDS1 (107%), and AtPR-1 (80%), as compared to control. Overexpression of AtDND1 greatly increased susceptibility as indicated by a large increase in the number of SCN cysts (175% of control).


Knowledge of the pathogen defense system gained from studies of the model system, Arabidopsis, can be directly translated to soybean through direct overexpression of Arabidopsis genes. When the genes, AtNPR1, AtGA2, and AtPR-5, encoding specific components involved in SA regulation, synthesis, and signaling, are overexpressed in soybean roots, resistance to SCN is enhanced. This demonstrates functional compatibility of some Arabidopsis genes with soybean and identifies genes that may be used to engineer resistance to nematodes.

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