Translocation of cytoplasm and nucleus to fungal penetration sites is associated with depolymerization of microtubules and defence gene activation in infected, cultured parsley cells

EMBO J. 1993 May;12(5):1735-44.


We describe a novel system of reduced complexity for analysing molecular plant-fungus interactions. The system consists of suspension-cultured parsley (Petroselinum crispum) cells infected with a phytopathogenic fungus (Phytophthora infestans) which adheres to a coated glass plate and thus immobilizes the plant cells for live microscopy. Conventional light and electron microscopy as well as time-lapse video microscopy confirmed the virtual identity of fungal infection structures and of several characteristic early plant defence reactions in the cultured cells and whole-plant tissue. Using this new system to approach previously unresolved questions, we made four major discoveries: (i) rapid translocation of plant cell cytoplasm and nucleus to the fungal penetration site was associated with local depolymerization of the microtubular network; (ii) the directed translocation was dependent on intact actin filaments; (iii) a typical plant defence-related gene was activated in the fungus-invaded cell; and (iv) simultaneous activation of this gene in adjacent, non-invaded cells did not require hypersensitive death of the directly affected cell.

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism
  • Cell Death
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression
  • Genes, Plant
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Microtubules / metabolism*
  • Phytophthora / isolation & purification
  • Phytophthora / physiology*
  • Phytophthora / ultrastructure
  • Plant Proteins / genetics*
  • Plants / genetics
  • Plants / microbiology*
  • Plants / ultrastructure
  • Videotape Recording


  • Actins
  • Plant Proteins
  • pathogenesis-related proteins, plant