In vitro haustorium development in roots and root cultures of the hemiparasitic plant Triphysaria versicolor

Alexey Tomilov, Natalia Tomilova, John I. Yoder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Parasitic plants in the Orobanchaceae invade host plant roots through root organs called haustoria. Parasite roots initiate haustorium development when exposed to specific secondary metabolites that are released into the rhizosphere by host plant roots. While molecular approaches are increasingly being taken to understand the genetic mechanism underlying these events, a limitation has been the lack of a transformation system for parasitic plants. Since the haustorium development occurs in roots of Orobanchaceae, root cultures may be suitable material for transient or stable transformation experiments. To this end, root cultures were obtained from explants, and subsequently calluses, from the hemiparasitic plant Triphysaria versicolor. The cultured roots retained their competence to form haustoria when exposed to host roots, host root exudates, or purified haustorium-inducing factors. The root culture haustoria invaded host roots and initiated a vascular continuity between the parasite and host roots. The ontogeny of haustoria development on root cultures was indistinguishable from that on seedlings roots. Root cultures should provide useful material for molecular studies of haustorium development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-265
Number of pages9
JournalPlant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2004


  • Haustorium development
  • Orobanchaceae
  • Parasitic plant
  • Plant-plant interactions
  • Triphysaria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Horticulture


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