, Volume 227, Issue 1, pp 13–24 | Cite as

Analysis of gene expression profiles in response to Sclerotinia sclerotiorum in Brassica napus

  • Jianwei ZhaoEmail author
  • Jianlin Wang
  • Lingling An
  • R. W. Doerge
  • Z. Jeffrey Chen
  • Craig R. Grau
  • Jinling Meng
  • Thomas C. Osborn
Original Article


Sclerotinia sclerotiorum is a necrotrophic plant pathogen which causes serious disease in agronomically important crop species. The molecular basis of plant defense to this pathogen is poorly understood. We investigated gene expression changes associated with S. sclerotiorum infection in a partially resistant and a susceptible genotype of oilseed Brassica napus using a whole genome microarray from Arabidopsis. A total of 686 and 1,547 genes were found to be differentially expressed after infection in the resistant and susceptible genotypes, respectively. The number of differentially expressed genes increased over infection time with the majority being up-regulated in both genotypes. The putative functions of the differentially expressed genes included pathogenesis-related (PR) proteins, proteins involved in the oxidative burst, protein kinase, molecule transporters, cell maintenance and development, abiotic stress, as well as proteins with unknown functions. The gene regulation patterns indicated that a large part of the defense response exhibited as a temporal and quantitative difference between the two genotypes. Genes associated with jasmonic acid (JA) and ethylene signal transduction pathways were induced, but no salicylic acid (SA) responsive genes were identified. Candidate defense genes were identified by integration of the early response genes in the partially resistant line with previously mapped quantitative trait loci (QTL). Expression levels of these genes were verified by Northern blot analyses. These results indicate that genes encoding various proteins involved in diverse roles, particularly WRKY transcription factors and plant cell wall related proteins may play an important role in the defense response to S. sclerotiorum disease.


Brassica Gene expression profile Microarray Sclerotinia Arabidopsis 





Hours post-inoculation


Jasmonic acid


Reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction


Salicylic acid



We thank Drs. D. H. Hegedus of Saskatoon Research Center and Chris Pires of University of Missouri-Columbia for critical review of the manuscript. This work was funded by the United States Department of Agriculture Sclertotinia Initiative to T. C. Osborn, and a NSF Plant Genome Research Program (grant DBI0077774) to R. W. Doerge, Z. J. Chen, and T. C. Osborn. This work was also partially supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China to Zhao Jianwei (30170496).

Supplementary material


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jianwei Zhao
    • 1
    • 5
    • 6
    Email author
  • Jianlin Wang
    • 3
  • Lingling An
    • 4
  • R. W. Doerge
    • 4
  • Z. Jeffrey Chen
    • 3
    • 7
  • Craig R. Grau
    • 2
  • Jinling Meng
    • 5
  • Thomas C. Osborn
    • 1
    • 8
  1. 1.Department of AgronomyUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Plant PathologyUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA
  3. 3.Plant Genetics and Genomics Laboratory, Department of Soil and Crop SciencesTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  4. 4.Department of StatisticsPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  5. 5.National Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic ImprovementHuazhong Agricultural UniversityWuhanChina
  6. 6.Agriculture and Agri-Food CanadaSaskatoon Research CentreSaskatoonCanada
  7. 7.Institute for Cellular and Molecular BiologyUniversity of TexasAustinUSA
  8. 8.Seminis Vegetable SeedsWoodlandUSA

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