Background. Understanding how plants and pathogens modulate gene expression during the host-pathogen interaction is key to uncovering the molecular mechanisms that regulate disease progression. Recent advances in sequencing technologies have provided new opportunities to decode the complexity of such interactions. In this study, we used an RNA-based sequencing approach (RNA-seq) to assess the global expression profiles of the wheat yellow rust pathogen Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici (PST) and its host during infection.
Results. We performed a detailed RNA-seq time-course for a susceptible and a resistant wheat host infected with PST. This study (i) defined the global gene expression profiles for PST and its wheat host, (ii) substantially improved the gene models for PST, (iii) evaluated the utility of several programmes for quantification of global gene expression for PST and wheat, and (iv) identified clusters of differentially expressed genes in the host and pathogen. By focusing on components of the defence response in susceptible and resistant hosts, we were able to visualise the effect of PST infection on the expression of various defence components and host immune receptors.
Conclusions. Our data showed sequential, temporally coordinated activation and suppression of expression of a suite of immune-response regulators that varied between compatible and incompatible interactions. These findings provide the framework for a better understanding of how PST causes disease and support the idea that PST can suppress the expression of defence components in wheat to successfully colonize a susceptible host.