Spatially resolved transcriptomics reveals plant host responses to pathogens

Michael Giolai, Walter Verweij, Ashleigh Lister, Darren Heavens, Iain MacAulay, Matthew D. Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Thorough understanding of complex model systems requires the characterisation of processes in different cell types of an organism. This can be achieved with high-throughput spatial transcriptomics at a large scale. However, for plant model systems this is still challenging as suitable transcriptomics methods are sparsely available. Here we present GaST-seq (Grid-assisted, Spatial Transcriptome sequencing), an easy to adopt, micro-scale spatial-transcriptomics workflow that allows to study expression profiles across small areas of plant tissue at a fraction of the cost of existing sequencing-based methods. Results: We compare the GaST-seq method with widely used library preparation methods (Illumina TruSeq). In spatial experiments we show that the GaST-seq method is sensitive enough to identify expression differences across a plant organ. We further assess the spatial transcriptome response of Arabidopsis thaliana leaves exposed to the bacterial molecule flagellin-22, and show that with eukaryotic (Albugo laibachii) infection both host and pathogen spatial transcriptomes are obtained. Conclusion: We show that our method can be used to identify known, rapidly flagellin-22 elicited genes, plant immune response pathways to bacterial attack and spatial expression patterns of genes associated with these pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114
JournalPlant Methods
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2019


  • Biotic interaction
  • flg22
  • GaST-seq
  • Oomycete
  • PAMP
  • Plant defence response
  • Plant immunity
  • RNA-seq
  • Spatial transcriptomics
  • Transcriptome landscape
  • Transcriptomics

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