Simultaneous RNA-seq Analysis of a Mixed Transcriptome of Rice and Blast Fungus Interaction

PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e49423. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0049423. Epub 2012 Nov 6.

Abstract

A filamentous fungus, Magnaporthe oryzae, is a causal agent of rice blast disease, which is one of the most serious diseases affecting cultivated rice, Oryza sativa. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying both rice defense and fungal attack are not yet fully understood. Extensive past studies have characterized many infection-responsive genes in the pathogen and host plant, separately. To understand the plant-pathogen interaction comprehensively, it is valuable to monitor the gene expression profiles of both interacting organisms simultaneously in the same infected plant tissue. Although the host-pathogen interaction during the initial infection stage is important for the establishment of infection, the detection of fungal gene expression in infected leaves at the stage has been difficult because very few numbers of fungal cells are present. Using the emerging RNA-Seq technique, which has a wide dynamic range for expression analyses, we analyzed the mixed transcriptome of rice and blast fungus in infected leaves at 24 hours post-inoculation, which is the point when the primary infection hyphae penetrate leaf epidermal cells. We demonstrated that our method detected the gene expression of both the host plant and pathogen simultaneously in the same infected leaf blades in natural infection conditions without any artificial treatments. The upregulation of 240 fungal transcripts encoding putative secreted proteins was observed, suggesting that these candidates of fungal effector genes may play important roles in initial infection processes. The upregulation of transcripts encoding glycosyl hydrolases, cutinases and LysM domain-containing proteins were observed in the blast fungus, whereas pathogenesis-related and phytoalexin biosynthetic genes were upregulated in rice. Furthermore, more drastic changes in expression were observed in the incompatible interactions compared with the compatible ones in both rice and blast fungus at this stage. Our mixed transcriptome analysis is useful for the simultaneous elucidation of the tactics of host plant defense and pathogen attack.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genes, Fungal / genetics
  • Genes, Plant / genetics
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / genetics*
  • Magnaporthe / genetics*
  • Magnaporthe / physiology*
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation
  • Oryza / genetics*
  • Oryza / immunology
  • Oryza / microbiology*
  • Plant Diseases / genetics
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology
  • Plant Leaves / genetics
  • Plant Leaves / microbiology
  • RNA, Fungal / genetics
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA / methods*
  • Transcriptome / genetics*
  • Up-Regulation / genetics

Substances

  • RNA, Fungal

Grant support

This work was supported by Genomics for Agricultural Innovation (RTR0001) from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) of Japan. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.