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Mol Cells. 2009 Oct 31;28(4):321-9. doi: 10.1007/s10059-009-0156-2. Epub 2009 Oct 13.

Molecular mechanisms of generation for nitric oxide and reactive oxygen species, and role of the radical burst in plant immunity.

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  • 1Laboratory of Defense in Plant-Pathogen Interactions, Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences, Nagoya University, Chikusa, Nagoya 464-8601, Japan.


Rapid production of nitric oxide (NO) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) has been implicated in the regulation of innate immunity in plants. A potato calcium-dependent protein kinase (StCDPK5) activates an NADPH oxidase StRBOHA to D by direct phosphorylation of N-terminal regions, and heterologous expression of StCDPK5 and StRBOHs in Nicotiana benthamiana results in oxidative burst. The transgenic potato plants that carry a constitutively active StCDPK5 driven by a pathogen-inducible promoter of the potato showed high resistance to late blight pathogen Phytophthora infestans accompanied by HR-like cell death and H(2)O(2) accumulation in the attacked cells. In contrast, these plants showed high susceptibility to early blight necrotrophic pathogen Alternaria solani, suggesting that oxidative burst confers high resistance to biotrophic pathogen, but high susceptibility to necrotrophic pathogen. NO and ROS synergistically function in defense responses. Two MAPK cascades, MEK2-SIPK and cytokinesis-related MEK1-NTF6, are involved in the induction of NbRBOHB gene in N. benthamiana. On the other hand, NO burst is regulated by the MEK2-SIPK cascade. Conditional activation of SIPK in potato plants induces oxidative and NO bursts, and confers resistance to both biotrophic and necrotrophic pathogens, indicating the plants may have obtained during evolution the signaling pathway which regulates both NO and ROS production to adapt to wide-spectrum pathogens.

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