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Gene expression and metabolite changes of tomato plants in response to Candidatus Phytoplasma infection

Chamberlain, K., Saqib, M. and Jones, M.G.K.ORCID: 0000-0001-5002-0227 (2010) Gene expression and metabolite changes of tomato plants in response to Candidatus Phytoplasma infection. In: 9th Australasian Plant Virology Workshop, 16-19 November 2010, Melbourne, Vic..


Phytoplasmas (Candidatus Phytoplasma) are a group of wall-less plant pathogenic bacteria that have been shown to cause over seven hundred diseases in several hundred plant species. The disease symptoms attributed to phytoplasmas include proliferation of roots and shoots, witches’-broom structures, virescence (green flowers), phyllody (flowers developing as leaves), yellowing, sterility, and in some cases death. As such, phytoplasmas are a significant challenge for agriculture worldwide. Tomato plants (Solanum lycopersicum) were graft-infected with phytoplasma from the 16SrII taxonomic group, and their development was monitored over a period of three months. Metabolite changes were analysed through use of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, and it was found that the phytoplasma infected plants displayed increased levels of salicylic acid, a downregulation of amino acids, and altered carbohydrate metabolism. The effects of phytoplasma infection on the gene expression of tomato were also analysed using whole-transcriptome analysis. Major gene expression changes which were observed included an increase in the expression of PR proteins as well as altered phytohormone and carbohydrate metabolism. This research represents a first step towards an understanding of the physiological and biochemical effects of phytoplasma infection. This information has potential applications for future research into the biological control of these invasive pathogens.

Item Type: Conference Item
Publisher: Australasian Plant Pathology Society
Conference Website:
Notes: Oral presentation
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