Early Root Response to Meloidogyne incognita in Resistant and Susceptible Alfalfa Cultivars


  • C. L. Potenza
  • S. H. Thomas
  • E. A. Higgins
  • C. Sengupta-Gopalan


The early events ofMeloidogyne incognita behavior and associated host responses following root penetration were studied in resistant (cv. Moapa 69) and susceptible (cv. Lahontan) alfalfa. Ten-day-old seedlings of alfalfa cultivars were inoculated with second-stage juveniles (J2) and harvested 12, 24, 48, and 72 hours and 7, 14, and 21 days later. Both cultivars supported similar root penetration and initial J2 migration. By 72 hours after inoculation the majority of J2 were amassed inside the vascular cylinder in roots of susceptible Lahontan, while J2 had not entered the vascular cylinder of resistant Moapa 69 and remained clumped at the root apex. Nematode development progressed normally in Lahontan, but J2 were not observed in Moapa 69 after day 7. The greatest differences between RNA translation products isolated from inoculated and uninoculated roots of Lahanton occurred 72 hours after inoculation. Only minor differences in gene expression were observed between inoculated and uninoculated Moapa 69 roots at 72 hours. Comparison of translation products from inoculated versus mechanically wounded Lahontan roots revealed products that were specific to or enhanced in nematode-infected plants. Moapa 69 appears to possess a type of resistance to M. incognita that does not depend on a conventional hypersensitive response. Key words: alfalfa, gene expression, host response, Lahontan, Medicago sativa, Meloidogyne incognita, Moapa 69, resistance, RNA, root-knot nematode.