Phytohormones play important roles in plant defence against plant-parasitic nematodes, although the role of jasmonate (JA) in defence against root-knot nematodes (RKN, Meloidogyne spp.) in soybean (Glycine max) was unknown. In this study, two commercial soybean cultivars, cvs DongSheng1 (DS1) and SuiNong14 (SN14), were identified as susceptible and resistant, respectively, to M. hapla. Quantitative reverse transcription (qRT)-PCR analysis showed that the expression of genes involved in JA synthesis or signalling was significantly induced in both susceptible and resistant roots at 24 and 48 h after inoculation. Exogenous application of methyl jasmonate induced defence against RKN in susceptible cv. DS1, which might be involved in altered activities of defence-related enzymes (chitinase and β-1,3 glucanase) and pathogenesis-related gene PR5 expression. The results indicate that exogenous application of JA might be an alternative strategy to induce soybean resistance against RKN.
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