Probing plant-pathogen interactions and downstream defense signaling using DNA microarrays
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The interaction between a plant and a pathogen activates a wide variety of defense responses. The recent development of microarray-based expression profiling methods, together with the availability of genomic and/or EST (expressed sequence tag) sequence data for some plant species, has allowed significant progress in the characterization of plant pathogenesis-related responses. The small number of expression profiling studies completed to date have already identified an amazing number of genes that had not previously been implicated in plant defense. Some of these genes can be associated with defense signal transduction or antimicrobial action, but the functional contribution of many others remains uncertain. Initial expression profiling work has also revealed similarities and distinctions between different defense signaling pathways, and cross-talk (both overlap and interference) between pathogenesis-related responses and plant responses to other stresses. Potential transcriptional cis-regulatory elements upstream of co-regulated genes can also be identified. Whole-genome arrays are only now becoming available, and many interactions remain to be studied (e.g. different pathogen species, plant genotypes, mutants, time-points after infection). Expression profiling technologies, in combination with other genomic tools, will have a substantial impact on our understanding of plant-pathogen interactions and defense signaling pathways.
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