You are here: Home / Research Topics / Research Highlights / Individual Highlight

Research Highlights

Individual Highlight

Sequencing the transcriptome of tanoak seedlings infected with Phytophthora ramorum

Photo of Snapshot : We have sequenced and assembled the transcriptome of Notholithocarpus densiflorus (tanoak) as well as the pathogen that causes Sudden Oak Death (Phytophthora ramorum). A transcriptome is all the genes being expressed in an organism at any given time- it summaries the molecular machinery being used at the time of sampling. We found changes in gene expression in tanoak leaves infected with P. ramorum, compared to uninfected leaves.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Wright, Jessica W. 
Research Location : California and Oregon
Research Station : Pacific Southwest Research Station (PSW)
Year : 2011
Highlight ID : 367


Sudden Oak Death is killing trees by the millions across California and Oregon. Understanding how the pathogen changes the plants it infects at a molecular level could give us clues as to how the pathogen infects and spreads. We extracted RNA from inoculated and mock-inoculated (control) tanoak leaves and sequenced all of the mRNA. When this is done using infected tissue, RNA from both the tree and the pathogen are sampled- allowing us to compare transcriptomes and to get some clues as to how the host and pathogen are responding to each other. Using a published genome for P. ramorum to sort out tree genes from pathogen genes, we were able to assemble both transcritpomes as the host and pathogens were interacting- a first for both species. We found that the genes that were expressed in the tree were different in infected tissues when compared to the control. This work is part of the Western Transcriptome Survey (

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Katherine J. Hayden and Matteo Garbelotto, UC Berkeley Hardeep Rai, Utah State University

Program Areas