University of Hertfordshire

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Evidence that Polymyxa species may infect Arabidopsis thaliana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Madeleine J. Smith
  • Michael J. Adams
  • Elaine Ward
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-40
Number of pages6
JournalFEMS Microbiology Letters
Publication statusPublished - May 2011


Polymyxa spp. are obligate biotrophs belonging to the plasmodiophorid group, responsible for transmitting a large number of plant viruses to many crop species. Their obligate nature makes them difficult to study. Controlled environment experiments were used to investigate the potential of infection of Arabidopsis thaliana by Polymyxa spp. to provide a more tractable system. Two ecotypes of Arabidopsis, Columbia and Landsberg erecta, were grown in soils known to be infested with Polymyxa. At the end of a 2-month growth period, both ecotypes were found to harbour Polymyxa-like structures or spores. These findings were confirmed by Polymyxa-specific PCR tests and rDNA sequencing, which positively identified the presence of Polymyxa in the roots of both ecotypes of Arabidopsis. Both Polymyxa graminis and Polymyxa betae were identified. This is the first report of infection of Arabidopsis by Polymyxa spp. and shows the possibility of using this system for studies of infection biology and host-parasite interactions.

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