Common scab, caused by species from the bacterial genus Streptomyces, is an important disease of potato (Solanum tuberosum) crops worldwide. Early tuberization is a critical period for pathogen infection; hence, studies of host gene expression responses during this developmental stage can be important to expand our understanding of the infection process and to identify putative resistance genes. In an infection experiment with the highly susceptible potato cultivar Saturna and the relatively resistant cultivar Beate, transcription profiles were obtained by RNA sequencing at two developmental stages: the early hook stage and the early tuber formation stage. Our results indicate that 'Beate' mounts an early and sustained response to infection by S. turgidiscabies, whereas the defence response by 'Saturna' ceases before the early tuber formation stage. Most pronounced were the putative candidate defence-associated genes uniquely expressed in 'Beate'. We observed an increase in alternative splicing on pathogen infection at the early hook stage for both cultivars. A significant down-regulation of genes involved in the highly energy-demanding process of ribosome biogenesis was observed for the infected 'Beate' plants at the early hook stage, which may indicate an allocation of resources that favours the expression of defence-related genes.
Keywords: Solanum tuberosum; common scab; transcriptomics.
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