The Role of Plant Hormones in Nematode Feeding Cell Formation

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In this Chapter, we discuss recent advances in the role of plant hormones in the molecular mechanisms underlying feeding cell formation both by cyst (CN) and root-knot nematodes (RKN). Phytohormones are small signalling molecules that regulate plant growth and development, including the formation of highly specialized root structures like nematode feeding cells. High-throughput transcriptome profiling has facilitated the identification of an increasing number of novel hormone related genes that are differentially expressed during feeding cell development. Together with dedicated functional studies, a picture has emerged which points to plant hormones playing an important role in the reprogramming of gene expression patterns upon nematode infection. Here, we present a comprehensive overview of the role of classical plant hormones, including cytokinin, auxin and ethylene, in the establishment of nematode-induced regulatory networks upon infection of plant roots. We also discuss the role of small peptides as a novel class in plant hormone signalling during feeding cell formation.