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How do nematodes get their sweets? Solute supply to sedentary plant-parasitic nematodes

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For more content, see Nematologica.

Sedentary cyst and root-knot nematodes withdraw large amounts of solutes from feeding structures induced in host roots. The feeding structures are specialised cells with a high metabolic activity and a tremendous capacity in translocation of nutrients. The required nutrients are provided by the plant transport systems – water and inorganic solutes from the xylem, assimilates such as sugars and amino acids from the phloem. Here we discuss the available data on the mechanisms by which nutrients are translocated into the nematode feeding sites. The interaction between Heterodera schachtii and Arabidopsis thaliana serves as a model system for cyst nematodes. In this case sufficient data are available to propose a conclusive concept for the mechanisms of nutrient flow: basically, in the early stages of nematode development syncytia are symplasmically isolated, so that transport proteins are responsible for the nutrient supply. Later, connections to the phloem via plasmodesmata are established, so that developing females are well supplied with assimilates. The interactions of root-knot nematodes with their hosts share a number of similarities but the data currently available are not sufficient to draw similar conclusions. As nutrient supply and functionality of feeding structures are the basis of biotrophic parasitism of sedentary nematodes, it is tempting to unravel the mechanisms by which both plant and nematodes influence each other via nutrient fluxes.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Applied Plant Sciences and Plant Biotechnology, Institute of Plant Protection, University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna, Peter-Jordan Strasse 82, 1190 Vienna, Austria


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