Divinyl ether fatty acid synthesis in late blight-diseased potato leaves.
We conducted a study of the patterns and dynamics of oxidized fatty acid derivatives (oxylipins) in potato leaves infected with the late-blight pathogen Phytophthora infestans. Two 18-carbon divinyl ether fatty acids, colneleic acid and colnelenic acid, accumulated during disease development. To date, there are no reports that such compounds have been detected in higher plants. The divinyl ether fatty acids accumulate more rapidly in potato cultivar Matilda (a cultivar with increased resistance to late blight) than in cultivar Bintje, a susceptible cultivar. Colnelenic acid reached levels of up to approximately 24 nmol (7 microgram) per g fresh weight of tissue in infected leaves. By contrast, levels of members of the jasmonic acid family did not change significantly during pathogenesis. The divinyl ethers also accumulated during the incompatible interaction of tobacco with tobacco mosaic virus. Colneleic and colnelenic acids were found to be inhibitory to P. infestans, suggesting a function in plant defense for divinyl ethers, which are unstable compounds rarely encountered in biological systems. (+info)
Internuclear gene silencing in Phytophthora infestans.
Transformation of the diploid oomycete plant pathogen Phytophthora infestans with antisense, sense, and promoter-less constructs of the coding sequence of the elicitin gene inf1 resulted in transcriptional silencing of both the transgenes and the endogenous gene. Since heterokaryons obtained by somatic fusion of an inf1-silenced transgenic strain and a wild-type strain displayed stable gene silencing, inf1 silencing is dominant and acts in trans. Inf1 remained silenced in nontransgenic homokaryotic progeny from the silenced heterokaryons, thereby demonstrating that the presence of transgenes is not essential for maintaining the silenced status of the endogenous inf1 gene. These findings support a model reminiscent of paramutation and involving a trans-acting factor that is capable of transferring a silencing signal between nuclei. (+info)
Origin of a new Phytophthora pathogen through interspecific hybridization.
Plant disease epidemics resulting from introductions of exotic fungal plant pathogens are a well known phenomenon. An associated risk-that accelerated pathogen evolution may be occurring as a consequence of genetic exchange between introduced, or introduced and resident, fungal pathogens-is largely unrecognized. This is, in part, because examples of natural, interspecific hybridization in fungi are very rare. Potential evolutionary developments range from the acquisition of new host specificities to emergence of entirely new pathogen taxa. We present evidence from cytological behavior, additive nucleotide bases in repetitive internal transcribed spacer regions of the rRNA-encoding DNA (rDNA), and amplified fragment length polymorphisms of total DNA that a new, aggressive Phytophthora pathogen of alder trees in Europe comprises a range of heteroploid-interspecific hybrids involving a Phytophthora cambivora-like species and an unknown taxon similar to Phytophthora fragariae. The hybrids' marked developmental instabilities, unusual morphological variability, and evidence for recombination in their internal transcribed spacer profiles indicates that they are of recent origin and that their evolution is continuing. The likelihood of such evolutionary events may be increasing as world trade in plants intensifies. However, routine diagnostic procedures currently in use are insufficiently sensitive to allow their detection. (+info)
The non-enzymatic microbicidal activity of lysozymes.
T4 lysozyme was thought to destroy bacteria by its muramidase activity. However, we demonstrate here that amphipathic helix stretches in the C-terminus of T4 lysozyme mediate its bactericidal and fungistatic activities. In heat-denatured T4 lysozyme, the enzymatic activity is completely abolished but unexpectedly, the antimicrobial functions remain preserved. Small synthetic peptides corresponding to amphipathic C-terminal domains of T4 lysozyme show a microbicidal activity. Its membrane disturbing activity was directly demonstrated for bacterial, fungal and plant cells but not in a hemolysis assay. Comparable results were obtained with hen egg white lysozyme. This opens up many new opportunities for optimization of lysozymes as antimicrobial agents in various applications by protein engineering. (+info)
Characterization of elicitin-like phospholipases isolated from Phytophthora capsici culture filtrate.
The phytopathogenic oomycete Phytophthora capsici secretes in culture a phospholipase activity. Two enzyme isoforms exhibiting a high phospholipase B activity were isolated by chromatography and electrophoresis. They differ in their apparent molar masses (22 and 32 kDa). Both proteins are glycosylated and share the same N-terminal amino acid sequence up to the 39th residue with a high homology with capsicein, the P. capsici elicitin. Although devoid of phospholipase activity, capsicein was shown by circular dichroism to specifically interact with negatively charged phospholipids, suggesting that the membrane lipids could be a potential target for elicitins. (+info)
Early nuclear events in plant defence signalling: rapid gene activation by WRKY transcription factors.
Parsley WRKY proteins comprise a family of plant-specific zinc-finger-type factors implicated in the regulation of genes associated with pathogen defence. In vitro, these proteins bind specifically to functionally defined TGAC-containing W box promoter elements within the Pathogenesis-Related Class10 (PR-10) genes. Here we present in vivo data demonstrating that WRKY1 is a transcriptional activator mediating fungal elicitor-induced gene expression by binding to W box elements. In situ RNA hybridization revealed that the WRKY1 gene is rapidly and locally activated in parsley leaf tissue around fungal infection sites. Transient expression studies in parsley protoplasts showed that a specific arrangement of W box elements in the WRKY1 promoter itself is necessary and sufficient for early activation and that WRKY1 binds to such elements. Our results demonstrate that WRKY transcription factors play an important role in the regulation of early defence-response genes including regulation of WRKY1. (+info)
Hydrogen peroxide from the oxidative burst is neither necessary nor sufficient for hypersensitive cell death induction, phenylalanine ammonia lyase stimulation, salicylic acid accumulation, or scopoletin consumption in cultured tobacco cells treated with elicitin.
H(2)O(2) from the oxidative burst, cell death, and defense responses such as the production of phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL), salicylic acid (SA), and scopoletin were analyzed in cultured tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) cells treated with three proteinaceous elicitors: two elicitins (alpha-megaspermin and beta-megaspermin) and one glycoprotein. These three proteins have been isolated from Phytophthora megasperma H20 and have been previously shown to be equally efficient in inducing a hypersensitive response (HR) upon infiltration into tobacco leaves. However, in cultured tobacco cells these elicitors exhibited strikingly different biological activities. beta-Megaspermin was the only elicitor that caused cell death and induced a strong, biphasic H(2)O(2) burst. Both elicitins stimulated PAL activity similarly and strongly, while the glycoprotein caused only a slight increase. Only elicitins induced SA accumulation and scopoletin consumption, and beta-megaspermin was more efficient. To assess the role of H(2)O(2) in HR cell death and defense response expression in elicitin-treated cells, a gain and loss of function strategy was used. Our results indicated that H(2)O(2) was neither necessary nor sufficient for HR cell death, PAL activation, or SA accumulation, and that extracellular H(2)O(2) was not a direct cause of intracellular scopoletin consumption. (+info)
The phytophthora genome initiative database: informatics and analysis for distributed pathogenomic research.
The Phytophthora Genome Initiative (PGI) is a distributed collaboration to study the genome and evolution of a particularly destructive group of plant pathogenic oomycete, with the goal of understanding the mechanisms of infection and resistance. NCGR provides informatics support for the collaboration as well as a centralized data repository. In the pilot phase of the project, several investigators prepared Phytophthora infestans and Phytophthora sojae EST and Phytophthora sojae BAC libraries and sent them to another laboratory for sequencing. Data from sequencing reactions were transferred to NCGR for analysis and curation. An analysis pipeline transforms raw data by performing simple analyses (i.e., vector removal and similarity searching) that are stored and can be retrieved by investigators using a web browser. Here we describe the database and access tools, provide an overview of the data therein and outline future plans. This resource has provided a unique opportunity for the distributed, collaborative study of a genus from which relatively little sequence data are available. Results may lead to insight into how better to control these pathogens. The homepage of PGI can be accessed at http:www.ncgr.org/pgi, with database access through the database access hyperlink. (+info)