Identification of putative expansin-like genes from the pine wood nematode, Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, and evolution of the expansin gene family within the Nematoda

  • Kikuchi T
  • Li H
  • Karim N
 et al. 
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We report the cloning and characterisation of genes encoding
expansin-like proteins from the pine wood nematodes, Bursaphelenchus
xylophilus and B. mucronatus. A small family of genes is present in both
species and the Bursaphelenchus genes are most similar to expansins and
expansin-like proteins from the potato cyst nematode Globodera
rostochiensis and root-knot nematodes. Molecular modelling suggests that
the genes could encode a protein with a structure similar to that of
functionally characterised expansins. Expression analysis showed that
the Bursaphelenchus expansin-like genes are expressed solely in the
pharyngeal gland cells, implying a role in the host-parasite
interaction, most likely in assisting migration through the plant. Some
G. rostochiensis and root-knot nematode expansins are composed of a
carbohydrate-binding domain coupled to an expansin domain but no
carbohydrate binding domain is present on any of the Bursaphelenchus
sequences. We suggest a model for evolution of the expansin gene family
within the plant-parasitic nematodes of the Tylenchida and Aphelenchida.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Evolution
  • Horizontal gene transfer
  • Host-parasite interactions
  • Molecular biology

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