Stigmasterol and cholesterol regulate the expression of elicitin genes in Phytophthora sojae

Lina Yousef, Ahmed F. Yousef, Joseph S. Mymryk, Warren A. Dick, Richard P. Dick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Sterol acquisition by soilborne plant pathogens of the genus Phytophthora is presumed to involve extracellular proteins belonging to class-I elicitins. However, little is known about the relationship between sterol availability and elicitin secretion. The objective of this study was to determine the expression of class-I elicitin genes in Phytophthora sojae when grown in a medium containing stigmasterol or cholesterol. P. sojae growth was stimulated by nanomolar concentrations of stigmasterol and cholesterol, which also resulted in the down-regulation of its elicitin genes over time when expression profiles were monitored using real time Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR). The down-regulation of elicitin genes in response to the two sterols also coincided with a reduction in the amount of elicitins detected in spent filtrates. Our study is the first to show the influence of sterols on elicitin gene expression in Phytophthora, which is important with respect to the ecology of elicitin secretion as sterol carrier proteins in the environment.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)824-832
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2009


  • Elicitin
  • Extracellular proteins
  • Phytophthora
  • Plant pathogens
  • Sterol carrier protein


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