Identification of genes differentially expressed during early interactions between the stem rot fungus (Sclerotium rolfsii) and peanut (Arachis hypogaea) cultivars with varying disease resistance levels
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Sclerotium rolfsii, a fungal pathogen, causes stem rot of peanut. This study aimed to identify differentially expressed genes associated with peanut resistance and fungal virulence. Four peanut cultivars with increasing resistance levels were inoculated with a virulent fungal strain to study the early plant-pathogen interaction. 454 sequencing generated 225,793 high-quality reads with an average length of 311bp; normalized read counts and fold changes were calculated. Statistical analysis identified differentially expressed genes and genes of interest were selected based on functions of interest. Differential expression was confirmed using real-time PCR. There were 274 differentially expressed genes between the most susceptible and resistant cultivars. Analysis of all four cultivars revealed little colinearity between the cultivar resistance and gene expression. This study provides defense-related genes potentially useful in transgenic disease control strategies. Differentially expressed genes with no matches to genes of known function may be worthy of additional investigation to characterize their function.