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Plant physiology

The jasmonate pathway is a key player in systemically induced defense against root knot nematodes in rice.


PMID 21715672

Abstract

Complex defense signaling pathways, controlled by different hormones, are involved in the reaction of plants to a wide range of biotic and abiotic stress factors. We studied the ability of salicylic acid, jasmonate (JA), and ethylene (ET) to induce systemic defense in rice (Oryza sativa) against the root knot nematode Meloidogyne graminicola. Exogenous ET (ethephon) and JA (methyl jasmonate) supply on the shoots induced a strong systemic defense response in the roots, exemplified by a major up-regulation of pathogenesis-related genes OsPR1a and OsPR1b, while the salicylic acid analog BTH (benzo-1,2,3-thiadiazole-7-carbothioic acid S-methyl ester) was a less potent systemic defense inducer from shoot to root. Experiments with JA biosynthesis mutants and ET-insensitive transgenics showed that ET-induced defense requires an intact JA pathway, while JA-induced defense was still functional when ET signaling was impaired. Pharmacological inhibition of JA and ET biosynthesis confirmed that JA biosynthesis is needed for ET-induced systemic defense, and quantitative real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction data revealed that ET application onto the shoots strongly activates JA biosynthesis and signaling genes in the roots. All data provided in this study point to the JA pathway to play a pivotal role in rice defense against root knot nematodes. The expression of defense-related genes was monitored in root galls caused by M. graminicola. Different analyzed defense genes were attenuated in root galls caused by the nematode at early time points after infection. However, when the exogenous defense inducers ethephon and methyl jasmonate were supplied to the plant, the nematode was less effective in counteracting root defense pathways, hence making the plant more resistant to nematode infection.

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