The beet cyst nematode Heterodera schachtii induces a feeding site, called syncytium, in roots of host plants. In Arabidopsis, one of the genes whose expression is strongly induced in these structures is Pdf2.1 which codes for an antimicrobial plant defensin. Arabidopsis has 13 plant defensin genes. Besides Pdf2.1, the Pdf2.2 and Pdf2.3 genes were strongly expressed in syncytia and therefore the expression of all three Pdf genes was studied in detail. The promoter of the Pdf2.1 gene turned out to be an interesting candidate to drive a syncytium-specific expression of foreign genes as RT-PCR showed that apart from the feeding site it was only expressed in siliques (seeds). The Pdf2.2 and Pdf2.3 genes were in addition expressed in seedlings, roots, leaves, stems, and flowers. These results were supported by the analysis of promoter::GUS lines. After infection with H. schachtii all GUS lines showed a strong staining in syncytia at 5 and 15 dpi. This expression pattern was confirmed by in situ RT-PCR. © 2011 Elsevier Masson SAS.
Siddique, S., Wieczorek, K., Szakasits, D., Kreil, D. P., & Bohlmann, H. (2011). The promoter of a plant defensin gene directs specific expression in nematode-induced syncytia in Arabidopsis roots. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, 49(10), 1100–1107. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.plaphy.2011.07.005