Plant Growth Regulation

, Volume 85, Issue 3, pp 375–387 | Cite as

Genome-wide expression analysis suggests a role for jasmonates in the resistance to blue mold in apple

  • Masoud Ahmadi-AfzadiEmail author
  • Mathilde Orsel
  • Sandra Pelletier
  • Maryline Bruneau
  • Estelle Proux-Wéra
  • Hilde Nybom
  • Jean-Pierre Renou
Original paper


Blue mold, caused by the necrotrophic fungal pathogen Penicillium expansum, causes serious postharvest losses in apple, and threatens human health through production of the potent mycotoxin patulin. Recent studies indicate a quantitative control of resistance against this disease in apple cultivars. A whole genome apple microarray covering 60k transcripts was used to identify gene(s) that appear to be differentially regulated between resistant and susceptible cultivars in P. expansum-infected fruits. A number of potential candidates was encountered among defense- and oxidative stress-related genes, cell wall modification and lignification genes, and genes related to localization and transport. Induction of one cell wall-related gene and three genes involved in the ‘down-stream’ flavonoid biosynthesis pathway, demonstrates the fundamental role of the cell wall as an important barrier, and suggests that fruit flavonoids are involved in the resistance to blue mold. Moreover, exogenous application of the plant hormone methyl jasmonate (MeJA) reduced the symptoms resulting from inoculating apples with P. expansum. This is the first report linking MeJA and activation of cell wall and flavonoid pathway genes to resistance against blue mold in a study comparing different cultivars of domesticated apple. Our results provide an initial categorization of genes that are potentially involved in the resistance mechanism, and should be useful for developing tools for gene marker-assisted breeding of apple cultivars with an improved resistance to blue mold.


Candidate gene Cell wall Flavonoid pathway Jasmonic acid Malus × domestica Microarray 



Authors acknowledge the assistance of Jasna Sehic, Charlotte Håhus and Linnea Luthman in harvesting and inoculating the fruit. PlantLink (Sweden) and the ANAN Platform of the SFR QuaSaV (France) are acknowledged for bioinformatics support and microarray facility, respectively.


This work was supported by grants from Formas and from Einar och Inga Nilssons stiftelse to Hilde Nybom.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masoud Ahmadi-Afzadi
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Mathilde Orsel
    • 3
  • Sandra Pelletier
    • 3
  • Maryline Bruneau
    • 3
  • Estelle Proux-Wéra
    • 4
    • 5
  • Hilde Nybom
    • 2
  • Jean-Pierre Renou
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Biotechnology, Institute of Science and High Technology and Environmental SciencesGraduate University of Advanced TechnologyKermanIran
  2. 2.Department of Plant Breeding–BalsgårdSwedish University of Agricultural SciencesKristianstadSweden
  3. 3.IRHS, INRA, AGROCAMPUS-OuestUniversité d’AngersBeaucouzé CedexFrance
  4. 4.Science for Life Laboratory, Department of Biochemistry and BiophysicsStockholm UniversitySolnaSweden
  5. 5.PlantLink, Department of Plant Protection BiologySwedish University of Agricultural SciencesAlnarpSweden

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