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SUMMARY We previously isolated a partial soybean cDNA clone (D17.1) whose corresponding transcript increases in susceptible roots 1 day post inoculation (dpi) with the soybean cyst nematode, Heterodera glycines. Here we isolated the corresponding full-length cDNA from a soybean cDNA library and designated this gene of unknown function Gm17.1. Time course RNA gel blot analyses revealed that Gm17.1 mRNA steady-state levels were elevated in soybean roots following H. glycines infection up to at least 6 dpi. For further in-depth study we identified a homologous Arabidopsis thaliana gene and designated this gene At17.1. Arabidopsis is successfully infected by the sugar beet cyst nematode (H. schachtii), a close relative of H. glycines. We isolated the At17.1 promoter, fused it to the β-glucuronidase (GUS) reporter gene, and transformed this construct into Arabidopsis plants as well as soybean hairy roots. Histochemical analysis of plant materials containing the At17.1::GUS construct revealed that the At17.1 promoter is functional in Arabidopsis as well as in soybean and that during normal plant development the At17.1 promoter directs GUS expression predominantly to the vascular tissues and root tips of both plant species. When At17.1::GUS Arabidopsis plants and soybean hairy roots were inoculated with cyst nematodes, strong GUS activity was detected within the cyst nematode-induced feeding structures. Further tests of At17.1 promoter activity in Arabidopsis revealed that this promoter was induced by auxin, jasmonic acid, mannitol and dehydration. Quantitative real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction assays of At17.1 expression confirmed the observed promoter characteristics. Based on our expression data and the observation that both the soybean and the Arabidopsis homologues behaved in a similar fashion following cyst nematode infection, it is likely that these genes are closely associated with cyst nematode parasitism of plants, potentially with hormone and osmotic changes occurring in the developing nematode feeding cells. Furthermore, these data provide additional insights into the strengths of the Arabidopsis–H. schachtii pathosystem to study cyst nematode–plant interactions in lieu of less tractable pathosystems. This finding is supported by the fact that the Arabidopsis promoter tested here produced similar results in Arabidopsis and soybean.