Nematodes benefit from tomato fruit ripening

The formation of feeding cells by cyst nematodes in plants is associated with a local increase in the auxin concentration. The feeding cell complex is the result of protoplast fusion after cell wall degradation of adjacent cells.

This process shows strong similarities with tomato fruit ripening. A local increase in auxin results in the expression of the enzyme ACS and ACO which play a key role in ethylene biosynthesis. Due to an increase in ethylene cell wall degrading enzymes are expressed resulting in fruit softening. We like to test the hypothesis if syncytium formation by cyst nematodes is the result of a similar mechanism of auxin-induced ethylene production and cell wall degradation. Research will focus on the expression patterns of the ACS, ACO and cellulase gene families in infected tomato roots using semi-quantitative RT-PCR and in situ hybridization technology. 

Are you interested in this subject? Please contact: Aska Goverse