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Plant Physiol. Oct 1991; 97(2): 739–750.
PMCID: PMC1081069

Accumulation of β-Fructosidase in the Cell Walls of Tomato Roots following Infection by a Fungal Wilt Pathogen 1


Active defense in plants is associated with marked metabolic alterations, but little is known about the exact role of the reported changes in specific activity of several enzymes in infected plant tissues. β-Fructosidase (invertase), the enzyme that converts sucrose into glucose and fructose, increases upon infection by fungi and bacteria. To understand the relationship between fungal growth and β-fructosidase accumulation, we used an antiserum raised against a purified deglycosylated carrot cell wall β-fructosidase to study by immunogold labeling the spatial and temporal distribution of the enzyme in susceptible and resistant tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) root tissues infected with the necrotrophic fungus, Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. racidis-lycopersici. In susceptible plants, the enzyme started to accumulate in host cell walls about 72 hours after inoculation. Accumulation occurred only in colonized cells and was mainly restricted to areas where the walls of both partners contacted each other. In resistant plants, accumulation of β-fructosidase was noticeable as soon as 48 hours after inoculation and appeared to reach an optimum by 72 hours after inoculation. Increase in wall-bound β-fructosidase was not restricted to infected cells but occurred also, to a large extent, in tissues that remained uncolonized during the infection process. The enzyme also accumulated in wall appositions (papillae) and intercellular spaces. This pattern of enzyme distribution suggests that induction of β-fructosidase upon fungal infection is part of the plant's defense response. The possible physiological role(s) of this enzyme in infected tomato plants is discussed in relation to the high demand in energy and carbon sources during pathogenesis.

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