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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.


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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