2014 年 49 巻 1 号 p. 66-73
Several parasitic plants in Orobanchaceae, such as Striga and Orobanche, cause devastating damage on agriculture worldwide. However, the molecular mechanisms of plant parasitism remain poorly understood. Orobanchaceae include species in a different range of parasitism, i.e. facultative and obligate parasites. Facultative parasites complete their life cycle without host plants, while obligate parasites are not able to survive without hosts in a natural condition. Although both parasites respond to quinone signals to develop infectious organs called haustoria, their shapes are distinct. Their responses to germination stimulants are also different. We are conducting genome and transcriptome analyses of an obligate parasite Striga asiatica and a facultative parasite Phtheirospermum japonicum to identify genes responsible for plant parasitism. A transformation protocol of P. japonicum was also established and used for functional characterization of parasitic plant genes.