, Volume 224, Issue 1, pp 155–162 | Cite as

Expression of a plant expansin is involved in the establishment of root knot nematode parasitism in tomato

  • Tali Z. Gal
  • Elitsur R. Aussenberg
  • Saul Burdman
  • Yoram Kapulnik
  • Hinanit Koltai
Original Article


A group of plant proteins, expansins, have been identified as wall-loosening factors and as facilitators of cell expansion in vivo. The root knot nematode Meloidogyne javanica establishes a permanent feeding site composed of giant cells surrounded by gall tissue. We used quantitative PCR and in situ localization to demonstrate the induction of a tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum cv. VF36) expansin (LeEXPA5) expression in gall cells adjacent to the nematode feeding cells. To further characterize the biological role of LeEXPA5 we have generated LeEXPA5-antisense transgenic roots. The ability of the nematode to establish a feeding site and complete its life cycle, the average root cell size and the rate of root elongation were determined for the transgenic roots, as well as the level of LeEXPA5 expression in non-infected and nematode-infected roots. Our results demonstrated that a decrease of LeEXPA5 expression reduces the ability of the nematode to complete its life cycle in transgenic roots. We suggest that a plant-originated expansin is necessary for a successful parasitic nematode–plant interaction.


Cell wall Egg mass Gall Giant cell Parasite Root growth 



Cellulose binding domain


Days post inoculation


LeEXPA5-antisense transgenic lines


Green fluorescence protein


General linear model


Polymerase chain reaction


Quantitative PCR


Reverse transcription


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tali Z. Gal
    • 1
  • Elitsur R. Aussenberg
    • 1
  • Saul Burdman
    • 2
  • Yoram Kapulnik
    • 3
  • Hinanit Koltai
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GenomicsARO, The Volcani CenterBet DaganIsrael
  2. 2.Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality SciencesThe Hebrew University of JerusalemRehovotIsrael
  3. 3.Department of Agronomy and Natural ResourcesARO, The Volcani CenterBet DaganIsrael

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