Journal of Plant Biochemistry and Biotechnology

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 509–520 | Cite as

Expression of the Arabidopsis SWEET genes during rice false smut infection in the transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana containing increased levels of ATP and sucrose

  • Mebeaselassie AndargieEmail author
  • Jianxiong Li
Original Article


Ustilaginoidea virens is a causal agent of rice false smut disease which hampers the global rice production. This pathogen is able to continually reach into the central vascular tissues and is able to hijack nutrients from the host plants. It is known that during the later stage of U. virens colonization, the floral region particularly the basal area which is having conducive micro-environment in terms of nutrients and moisture content witnessed the presence of a dense mass of mycelia. Nevertheless, the mechanism which underlies U. virens infection in relation to sugar transport is not well established using a molecular approach. Here, we analyzed contents of sugar that are present in leaves pre and post U. virens infection using a transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana leaves containing increased levels of ATP and sucrose. Glucose and sucrose contents in the leaves of the transgenic Arabidopsis lines were significantly increased compared to WT after U. virens infection, suggesting that U. virens growth and translocation of sugar are directly linked. From the four A. thaliana SWEET genes tested, two AtSWEETs which belong to Clade III were up-regulated significantly upon U. virens infection particularly in the OE7 transgenic line. Our studies suggest that active sugar translocation between the sugar producing tissues probably was triggered by U. virens infection, and the identified SWEET family genes are directly involved in facilitating this process.


Arabidopsis thaliana Susceptibility genes SWEETs Sugar translocation Ustilaginoidea virens 



Adenosine triphosphate


Over expression


Purple acid phosphatases


Plant defensin gene


Pathogenesis related genes


Sugar will eventually be exported transporters



This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Sciences Foundation of China (911161001) and the Important Direction Research on Knowledge Innovation Project (KSCX2- EW-N-06) and the fund from Department of Agriculture of Guangdong Province awarded to JL, MA was a recipient of the ‘Visiting Fellowship for Researchers from Developing Countries’ Award (2013FFSA0005) from Chinese Academy of Sciences. We would like to thank Dr Boon Leong Lim for providing the seeds of the Arabidopsis transgenic lines.

Author’s contributions

MA and JL designed the experiment, MA conducted the experiments, analyzed data and MA and JL wrote the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Society for Plant Biochemistry and Biotechnology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of South China Agricultural Plant Molecular Analysis and Genetic Improvement, and Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Applied Botany, South China Botanical GardenChinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Molecular Phytopathology and Mycotoxin Research, Faculty of Agricultural SciencesUniversity of GoettingenGoettingenGermany

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