European Journal of Plant Pathology

, Volume 152, Issue 4, pp 945–955 | Cite as

sRNAs involved in the regulation of plant developmental processes are altered during the root-knot nematode interaction for feeding site formation

  • Javier Cabrera
  • Virginia Ruiz-Ferrer
  • Carmen Fenoll
  • Carolina EscobarEmail author


Plant parasitic root- knot nematodes (RKNs; Meloidogyne spp.) are a significant threat for the agriculture as they infect multiple crops, causing severe economic losses worldwide. Most of the effective chemical nematicides have been or are in the process of being banned on the basis of their harmful effect to the environment and human health. These nematodes penetrate the root, migrate intercellularly and establish in the vascular cylinder. Then, nematode effectors delivered into the plant cells alter the plant development to induce their feeding cells, called giant cells (GCs) that serve to nourish them till life cycle completion. The GCs are embedded into a swelling in the root, called gall, formed by the proliferation and/or hypertrophy of the surrounding tissues. Further studies on the development of the nematode-feeding sites, i.e. to deepen into the molecular bases of the plant-nematode interaction, are required to identify alternative approaches for nematode control. Here, we summarize recent advances specifically in the role of the small RNAs during the compatible interactions between RKNs and Arabidopsis and tomato hosts. Most of the studies describe the deregulation in the galls and/or GCs of gene regulatory modules composed by miRNAs and transcription factors which have already an assigned function during development and/or organogenesis processes in the plant. This may point to a role for these miRNAs as molecular hubs of pathways triggered either by developmental plant cues or by a biotic stress as the nematode infection.


Giant Cells Galls Meloidogyne spp. miRNA Root- Knot Nematode sRNA 



Work supported by the Spanish Government (grants AGL2013-48787; AGL2016-75287-R to CE, CSD2007-057 and PCIN-2013-053 to CF) and by the Castilla-La Mancha Government (PEII-2014-020-P to CF). JC is supported by a Cytema-Santander contract from Universidad de Castilla- La Mancha. We apologize to all colleagues whose work could not be cited due to the size limitations of this manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

Authors declare no potential conflicts of interest (financial or non-financial).


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Copyright information

© Koninklijke Nederlandse Planteziektenkundige Vereniging 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Javier Cabrera
    • 1
  • Virginia Ruiz-Ferrer
    • 1
  • Carmen Fenoll
    • 1
  • Carolina Escobar
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Facultad de Ciencias Ambientales y Bioquímica. Área de Fisiología VegetalUniversidad de Castilla-La ManchaToledoSpain

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