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Plant Physiol. Nov 1997; 115(3): 1029–1038.
PMCID: PMC158566

Differential expression of chitinases in Vitis vinifera L. responding to systemic acquired resistance activators or fungal challenge.


The concept of systemic acquired resistance (SAR) enables a novel approach to crop protection, and particular pathogenesis-related proteins, i.e. an acidic chitinase, have been classified as markers of the SAR response. Basic class I (VCHIT1b) and a class III (VCH3) chitinase cDNAs were cloned from cultured Vitis vinifera L. cv Pinot Noir cells and used to probe the induction response of grapevine cells to salicylic acid or yeast elicitor. Furthermore, the cells were treated with the commercial SAR activators 2,6-dichloroiso-nicotinic acid or benzo(1,2,3)-thiadiazole-7-carbothioic acid S-methyl ester. Elicitor or salicylic acid induced both VCHIT1b and VCH3 transcript abundances, whereas 2,6-dichloroiso-nicotinic acid or benzo(1,2,3)-thiadiazole-7-carbothioic acid S-methyl ester enhanced exclusively the expression of VCH3. To assess the systemic sensation of chitinase expression, single leaves of Vitis vinifera L. cv Pinot Noir or Vitis rupestris plants were inoculated with Plasmopara viticola spore suspensions, and the VCH3 and VCHIT1b mRNA amounts in the infected versus the adjacent, healthy leaf were monitored. Two VCH3 mRNA maxima were observed 2 and 6 d postinoculation in the infected, susceptible V. vinifera tissue, whereas in the healthy leaf the transcript increased from low levels d 2 postinoculation to prominent levels d 6 to 8 postinoculation. The level of VCH3 mRNA increased also over 4 d in the inoculated, resistant V. rupestris tissue. However, necrotic spots rapidly limited the infection, and the VCH3 transcript was undetectable in the upper-stage, healthy leaf. The expression of VCHIT1b remained negligible under either experimental condition. Overall, the results suggest that the selective expression of VCH3 might be a reliable indicator of the SAR response in V. vinifera L.

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Selected References

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