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Plant-Parasitic Nematode Interactions

Plant-parasitic nematodes are among the most devastating crop pests in the U.S.  The USDA’s Committee on National Needs and Priorities in Nematology estimated that the value of plant damage associated with nematodes can reach up to 7 to 9 billion dollars annually in the U.S. and over 100 billion dollars worldwide. Root-knot nematode and cyst nematodes are the biggest problems in crop plants today accounting for about 75% of the damage worldwide.  Frequently,  estimated damages caused by plant-parasitic nematodes are considered underestimates, as plants can often suffer approximately 35% yield loss without showing noticeable above-ground symptoms under field conditions.  Plant-parasitic nematodes are well known for their ability to parasitize roots and remove nutrients normally used for plant growth. 

Current research in the laboratory focuses on  several areas of study.

RKN on Arabidopsis

Root-Knot Nematode Research

  • Development and remodeling of cell architecture during feeding site development.  Focus is on the structural imaging of root-knot nematode feeding sites.
  • Transcriptomic analysis of nematode feeding sites:  Understanding what genes are expressed during nematode parasitism and in the nematode feeding site.
  • Transcriptomic analysis of adult root-knot nematodes.  Examination of nematode genes active during adult feeding.
  • Understanding the role of amino acids during nematode parasitism.  Examining the role of amino acids in chemotaxis and nutrition of the root-knot nematode.

Soybean Cyst Nematode Research

  • Analysis of virulence of soybean cyst nematode in Ohio.
  • Transcriptomic analysis of adult soybean cyst nematodes.  Examination of nematode genes active during adult feeding.
  • Development of nematode control strategies for soybean cyst nematode.  Examining both biocontrol and activation of plant defenses for soybean cyst nematode control.


Walsh, E; Elmore, JM; Taylor, CG. 2017. Root-Knot Nematode Parasitism Suppresses Host RNA Silencing. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 30:295-300.

Testen A, Walsh EK, Taylor CG, Miller SA, Lopez-Nicora HD. 2014. First report of bloat nematode (Ditylenchus dipsaci) infecting garlic in Ohio.  Plant Disease 98: 859

Marella, HH; Nielsen, E; Schachtman, DP; Taylor, CG. 2013. The Amino Acid Permeases AAP3 and AAP6 Are Involved in Root-Knot Nematode Parasitism of Arabidopsis. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 26:44-54.

Morse AM, Carballo V, Baldwin DA, Taylor CG, and McIntyre LM. 2010. Comparison between NuGEN's Ovation Pico and One-Direct Amplfication System.  Journal of Biomolecular Techniques 21:141-147.

Berg RH, Fester T, Taylor CG. 2008. Development of the root-knot nematode feeding cell.  In: Cell-biology of plant nematode parasitism. (Eds. Berg RH, Taylor CG).  pp. 115-152.

Li Y, Fester R, Taylor CG. 2008. Transcriptomic analysis of nematode infestation.  In: Cell-biology of plant nematode parasitism. (Eds. Berg RH, Taylor CG).  pp. 189-220.

Fester T, Berg RH, Taylor CG. 2008. An easy method for the microscopic analysis of plant biotrophic interactions.  Journal of Microscopy 231:342-348.

Hammes UZ, Nielsen E, Honaas LA, Taylor CG, Schachtman DP. 2006. AtCAT6, an amino acid transporter that is expressed in sink tissues of Arabidopsis.  Plant Journal 48:414-426.

Yang Y, Hammes UZ, Taylor CG, Schachtman DP, Nielsen E. 2006. High-affinity auxin transport by the AUX1 influx carrier protein.  Current Biology 16:1123-1127.

Hammes U, Schachtman DP, Berg RH, Nielsen E, Koch W, McIntyre L, Taylor CG. 2005.  Nematode induced changes of transporter gene expression in Arabidopsis roots.  MPMI 18:1247-1257.

Opperman CH, Taylor CG, Conkling MA. 1994. Root-Knot Nematode-Directed Expression of a Plant Root-specific Gene.  Science  263: 221-223.  Front cover publication.

Yamamoto YT, Taylor CG, Acedo GN, Cheng CL, Conkling MA.  1991. Characterization of Cis-Acting Sequences Regulating Root-Specific Gene Expression in Tobacco.  Plant Cell  3: 371-382.