GFP-tagging of cell components reveals the dynamics of subcellular re-organization in response to infection of Arabidopsis by oomycete pathogens

Plant J. 2003 Feb;33(4):775-92. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.2003.01673.x.


Cytoplasmic aggregation, the rapid translocation of cytoplasm and subcellular components to the site of pathogen penetration, is one of the earliest reactions of plant cells against attack by microorganisms. We have investigated cytoplasmic aggregation during Arabidopsis-oomycete interactions. Infection by non-pathogenic Phytophthora sojae was prevented in the plant epidermal cell layer, whereas Peronospora parasitica isolates Cala2 (avirulent) and Noks1 (virulent) could both penetrate into the mesophyll cell layer. Epidermal cell responses to penetration by these oomycetes were examined cytologically with a range of transgenic Arabidopsis plants expressing Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP)-tagged cell components. These included plants containing GFP-TUA6 for visualizing microtubules, GFP-hTalin for actin microfilaments, GFP-tm-KKXX for endoplasmic reticulum (ER), and STtmd-GFP for the Golgi apparatus. In all interactions, actin microfilaments were actively re-arranged and formed large bundles in cytoplasmic strands focused on the penetration site. Aggregation of ER membrane and accumulation of Golgi bodies at the infection site were observed, suggesting that production and secretion of plant materials were activated around the penetration site. Microtubules did not become focused on the penetration site. No difference was evident between the responses of epidermal cells in the non-host, incompatible and compatible interactions. This result indicates that the induction of cytoplasmic aggregation in Arabidopsis epidermal cells was neither suppressed by the virulent strain of Peronospora, nor effective in stopping infection.

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton / physiology
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / microbiology
  • Arabidopsis / physiology*
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / physiology
  • Golgi Apparatus / physiology
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics
  • Luminescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Microtubules / physiology
  • Oomycetes / growth & development*
  • Phytophthora / growth & development
  • Plant Epidermis / physiology
  • Plants, Genetically Modified


  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins