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Plant Physiol. 2007 Jun;144(2):728-40. Epub 2007 Apr 6.

RNAi silencing of genes for elicitation or biosynthesis of 5-deoxyisoflavonoids suppresses race-specific resistance and hypersensitive cell death in Phytophthora sojae infected tissues.

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  • 1Department of Plant Pathology and Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Program, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA. graham.1@osu.edu

Abstract

Isoflavonoids are thought to play an important role in soybean (Glycine max) resistance to Phytophthora sojae. This was addressed by silencing two genes for their biosynthesis and a third gene controlling their elicitation. Silencing of genes for isoflavone synthase (IFS) or chalcone reductase (CHR) was achieved in soybean roots through an Agrobacterium rhizogenes-mediated RNAi approach. Effectiveness of silencing was followed both by quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and high-performance liquid chromatography analyses. Silencing either IFS or CHR led to a breakdown of Rps-mediated resistance to race 1 of P. sojae in 'W79' (Rps 1c) or 'W82' (Rps 1k) soybean. Loss of resistance was accompanied by suppression of hypersensitive (HR) cell death in both cultivars and suppression of cell death-associated activation of hydrogen peroxide and peroxidase. The various results suggest that the 5-deoxyisoflavonoids play a critical role in the establishment of cell death and race-specific resistance. The P. sojae cell wall glucan elicitor, a potent elicitor of 5-deoxyisoflavonoids, triggered a cell death response in roots that was also suppressed by silencing either CHR or IFS. Furthermore, silencing of the elicitor-releasing endoglucanase (PR-2) led to a loss of HR cell death and race-specific resistance to P. sojae and also to a loss of isoflavone and cell death responses to cell wall glucan elicitor. Taken together, these results suggest that in situ release of active fragments from a general resistance elicitor (pathogen-associated molecular pattern) is necessary for HR cell death in soybean roots carrying resistance genes at the Rps 1 locus, and that this cell death response is mediated through accumulations of the 5-deoxyisoflavones.

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