Powdery mildew (PM) is a serious fungal disease of legumes. To gain novel insights into PM pathogenesis and host resistance/susceptibility, we used dual RNA-Seq to simultaneously capture host and pathogen transcriptomes at 1 d post-inoculation of resistant and susceptible Medicago truncatula genotypes with the PM Erysiphe pisi (Ep). Differential expression analysis indicates that R-gene mediated resistance against Ep involves extensive transcriptional reprogramming. Functional enrichment of differentially expressed host genes and in silico analysis of co-regulated promoters suggests that amplification of PTI, activation of the JA/ET signaling network, and regulation of growth-defense balance correlate with resistance. In contrast, processes that favor biotrophy, including suppression of defense signaling and programmed cell death, and weaker cell wall defenses are important susceptibility factors. Lastly, Ep effector candidates and genes with known/putative virulence functions were identified, representing a valuable resource that can be leveraged to improve our understanding of legume-PM interactions.
Keywords: Dual transcriptome; Egh16H; Growth-defense tradeoff; MtREP1; Obligate biotroph; TCP.
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