The genome of the yellow potato cyst nematode, Globodera rostochiensis, reveals insights into the bases and regulation of parasitism and virulence

Sebastian Eves-van den Akker, Dominik R. Laetsch, Peter Thorpe, Catherine J. Lilley, Etienne G.J. Danchin, Martine Da Rocha, Corinne Rancurel, Nancy E. Holroyd, James A. Cotton, Amir Szitenberg, H.A. Overmars, G. Smant

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


A community-wide consortium was launched in 2014 to analyse the genome of Globodera rostochiensis. This devastating plant-pathogen of global economic importance is classified into pathotypes of different plant resistance-breaking phenotypes. G. rostochiensis secretes effectors from pharyngeal glands into the host to manipulate host processes and promote parasitism: some effectors were acquired by horizontal gene transfer. We have generated a draft genome assembly for G. rostochiensis to identify putative effectors and HGT events, to map gene expression through the life cycle focusing on key parasitic transitions, and to explore the genetic variation underlying eight populations including four additional plant resistance-breaking pathotypes.
Horizontal gene transfer contributed 3.5% of the predicted genes, ~8.5% of which are deployed as effectors. We identified a putative regulatory motif consistent with the highly tissue-specific expression pattern of effectors. The six base pair DOrsal Gland motif (DOG box) is present in the promoter region of representatives from 26 of the 28 dorsal-gland effector families. Using the DOG box, we predicted a superset of putative effectors associated with this motif, validate gland cell expression for two novel genes by in situ hybridisation, and catalogue DOG effectors from available cyst nematode genomes. Comparison of effector diversity between pathotypes highlights polymorphisms which correlate with plant resistance-breaking pathotypes.
These G. rostochiensis genome resources will facilitate major advances in understanding nematode plant-parasitism. DOG effectors are at the front line of the evolutionary arms race between plant and parasite, and the ability to predict gland cell expression a priori promises rapid advances in understanding their roles and mechanisms of action. The G. rostochiensis consortium has rapidly established a model to study pathogenicity and virulence in plant-parasitic nematodes.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event32nd Symposium European Society of Nematologist - Universidade do Minho, Braga, Portugal
Duration: 28 Aug 20161 Sept 2016


Conference32nd Symposium European Society of Nematologist
Internet address


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