Molecular Biology Reports

, Volume 38, Issue 5, pp 2993–3000 | Cite as

Gene expression profiling of phytoplasma-infected Madagascar periwinkle leaves using differential display

  • V. De Luca
  • C. Capasso
  • A. Capasso
  • M. Pastore
  • V. CarginaleEmail author


Phytoplasmas are small (0.2–0.8 μm), wall-less, pleiomorphic prokaryotes responsible of numerous economically important plant diseases. They are characterized by a very small genome and are obligate parasites of phloem tissues and some insects that act as vectors of infection. To investigate molecular mechanisms involved in pathogenesis, the differential display technique was here applied to identify plant genes whose transcription was significantly altered in leaves of Madagascar periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus (L.) G.Don) infected by ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma pyri’. We detected, reamplified, cloned, and sequenced 16 putative differentially expressed cDNA fragments. Northern blot analysis revealed that seven of the 16 genes identified were up-regulated following phytoplasma infection, while three genes were down-regulated. The remaining six genes did not show significant changes in the level of expression. Identified genes are mainly involved in plant defence/stress responses, protein metabolism and transport, transcriptional regulation, vesicle trafficking, and carbohydrate metabolism. The possible role played by these genes in the phytoplasma infection is discussed.


Differential display Host–pathogen interactions Stress response Plant pathogens 



We wish to thank Prof. Luigi Carraro (University of Udine, Italy) for providing us with plant samples. The present work has been carried out under the Project “FRU.MED.”, Subproject “DAFME”, funded by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policy


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. De Luca
    • 1
  • C. Capasso
    • 1
  • A. Capasso
    • 1
  • M. Pastore
    • 2
  • V. Carginale
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.CNR Institute of Protein BiochemistryNaplesItaly
  2. 2.Fruit Tree Research Institute, C.R.A.CasertaItaly

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