Gene expression profiling during asexual development of the late blight pathogen Phytophthora infestans reveals a highly dynamic transcriptome

Howard S. Judelson, Audrey M. V. Ah-Fong, George Aux, Anna O. Avrova, Catherine Bruce, Cahid Calkir, Luis da Cunha, Laura Grenville-Briggs, Maita Latijnhouwers, Wilco Ligterink, Harold J. G. Meijer, Samuel Roberts, Carrie S. Thurber, Stephen C. Whisson, Paul R. J. Birch, Francine Govers, Sophien Kamoun, Pieter van West, John Windass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

90 Citations (Scopus)


Much of the pathogenic success of Phytophthora infestans, the potato and tomato late blight agent, relies on its ability to generate from mycelia large amounts of sporangia, which release zoospores that encyst and form infection structures. To better understand these stages, Affymetrix GeneChips based on 15,650 unigenes were designed and used to profile the life cycle. Approximately half of R infestans genes were found to exhibit significant differential expression between developmental transitions, with approximately 1/10 being stage-specific and most changes occurring during zoosporo-genesis. Quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction assays confirmed the robustness of the array results and showed that similar patterns of differential expression were obtained regardless of whether hyphae were from laboratory media or infected tomato. Differentially expressed genes encode potential cellular regulators, especially protein kinases; metabolic enzymes such as those involved in glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, or the biosynthesis of amino acids or lipids; regulators of DNA synthesis; structural proteins, including predicted flagellar proteins; and pathogenicity factors, including cell-wall-degrading enzymes, RXLR effector proteins, and enzymes protecting against plant defense responses. Curiously, some stage-specific transcripts do not appear to encode functional proteins. These findings reveal many new aspects of oomycete biology, as well as potential targets for crop protection chemicals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-447
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular Plant-Microbe Interactions
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008


  • appressorium
  • microarray
  • sporulation
  • host-plant cells
  • zoospore motility
  • parallel analysis
  • cyst germination
  • potato infection
  • protein-kinase
  • RT-PCR
  • RNA
  • family


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