The present understanding of ROS generation in the defence response of Arabidopsis thaliana is reviewed. Evidence suggests that the apoplastic oxidative burst generated during basal resistance is peroxidase-dependent. The ROS generated during this basal resistance may serve to activate NADPH oxidase during the R-gene-mediated hypersensitive response. The processes involved in the production of reactive oxygen species in A. thaliana cell suspension cultures in response to an elicitor from Fusarium oxysporum are investigated in the present work. This system appears analogous to the production of ROS during the basal resistance response in French bean, which is peroxidase-dependent. A panel of modulators effective in other pathogen elicitor and plant cell systems has been used to investigate the Arabidopsis signalling pathways and the plant cell responses involved. Thus as in other systems, an early calcium influx into the cytosolic compartment, a rapid efflux of K(+) and Cl(-), and extracellular alkalinization of elicited cell cultures has been found. However the alkalinization is not sufficient to stimulate the apoplastic oxidative burst by itself, unlike in French bean, although vectorial ion fluxes are needed. A secretory component which is sensitive to monensin and N-ethylmaleimide and insensitive to brefeldin A may also be necessary for the release and provision of substrates for peroxidase-dependent generation of H(2)O(2).
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