Plant physiology

Dual roles of reactive oxygen species and NADPH oxidase RBOHD in an Arabidopsis-Alternaria pathosystem.

PMID 19726575


Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) NADPH oxidases have been reported to suppress the spread of pathogen- and salicylic acid-induced cell death. Here, we present dual roles of RBOHD (for respiratory burst oxidase homolog D) in an Arabidopsis-Alternaria pathosystem, suggesting either initiation or prevention of cell death dependent on the distance from pathogen attack. Our data demonstrate that a rbohD knockout mutant exhibits increased spread of cell death at the macroscopic level upon inoculation with the fungus Alternaria brassicicola. However, the cellular patterns of reactive oxygen species accumulation and cell death are fundamentally different in the AtrbohD mutant compared with the wild type. Functional RBOHD causes marked extracellular hydrogen peroxide accumulation as well as cell death in distinct, single cells of A. brassicicola-infected wild-type plants. This single cell response is missing in the AtrbohD mutant, where infection triggers spreading-type necrosis preceded by less distinct chloroplastic hydrogen peroxide accumulation in large clusters of cells. While the salicylic acid analog benzothiadiazole induces the action of RBOHD and the development of cell death in infected tissues, the ethylene inhibitor aminoethoxyvinylglycine inhibits cell death, indicating that both salicylic acid and ethylene positively regulate RBOHD and cell death. Moreover, A. brassicicola-infected AtrbohD plants hyperaccumulate ethylene and free salicylic acid compared with the wild type, suggesting negative feedback regulation of salicylic acid and ethylene by RBOHD. We propose that functional RBOHD triggers death in cells that are damaged by fungal infection but simultaneously inhibits death in neighboring cells through the suppression of free salicylic acid and ethylene levels.