Life Cycle of Plasmodiophora brassicae

  • Koji Kageyama
  • Takahiro Asano


Plasmodiphora brassicae is a soil-borne obligate parasite. The pathogen has three stages in its life cycle: survival in soil, root hair infection, and cortical infection. Resting spores of P. brassicae have a great ability to survive in soil. These resting spores release primary zoospores. When a zoospore reaches the surface of a root hair, it penetrates through the cell wall. This stage is termed the root hair infection stage. Inside root hairs the pathogen forms primary plasmodia. A number of nuclear divisions occur synchronously in the plasmodia, followed by cleavage into zoosporangia. Later, 4–16 secondary zoospores are formed in each zoosporangium and released into the soil. Secondary zoospores penetrate the cortical tissues of the main roots, a process called cortical infection. Inside invaded roots cells, the pathogen develops into secondary plasmodia which are associated with cellular hypertrophy, followed by gall formation in the tissues. The plasmodia finally develop into a new generation of resting spores, followed by their release back into soil as survival structures. In vitro dual cultures of P. brassicae with hairy root culture and suspension cultures have been developed to provide a way to nondestructively observe the growth of this pathogen within host cells. The development of P. brassicae in the hairy roots was similar to that found in intact plants. The observations of the cortical infection stage suggest that swelling of P. brassicae-infected cells and abnormal cell division of P. brassicae-infected and adjacent cells will induce hypertrophy and that movement of plasmodia by cytoplasmic streaming increases the number of P. brassicae-infected cells during cell division.


Life cycle Plasmodiophora brassicae Resting spore Plasmodium Zoosporangium Root hair infection Clubroot Dual culture in vitro 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.River Basin Research CentreGifu UniversityGifuJapan
  2. 2.Geological Isolation Research and Development DirectorateJapan Atomic Energy AgencyIbarakiJapan

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