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Plant Physiol Biochem. 2013 Oct;71:218-25. doi: 10.1016/j.plaphy.2013.07.014. Epub 2013 Aug 7.

A systemic response of geophytes is demonstrated by patterns of protein expression and the accumulation of signal molecules in Zantedeschia aethiopica.

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  • 1Institute of Biochemistry, Food Science and Nutrition, The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, P.O. Box 12, Rehovot 76100, Israel; Department of Ornamental Horticulture, ARO, The Volcani Center, Derech Hamacabim 20, P.O. Box 6, Bet-Dagan 50250, Israel.


In geophyte plants, such as Zantedeschia, individual leaves are directly connected to a specialized underground storage organ (rhizome/tuber), raising a question regarding systemic resistance as a mechanism of defense. A systemic response requires a transfer of a signal through the storage organ which has been evolutionary adapted to store food, minerals and moisture for seasonal growth and development. We have characterized the nature of induced defense responses in Zantedeschia aethiopica, a rhizomatous (tuber-like) ornamental plant by the application of local elicitation using two well-known defense elicitors, benzo-(1,2,3)-thiadiazole-7-carbothioic acid S-methyl ester (BTH) and methyl jasmonate (MJ). The system consisted leaves in which local responses were directly induced, and systemically responsive leaves in which defense molecules were detected, demonstrating a transported vascular signal. Using anatomical and biochemical tools and local elicitation with MJ, the systemic nature of the response was verified in adjacent leaves by unique protein expression patterns; similarly polyphenol oxidase (PPO) activity was found to increase systemically in all parts of the locally induced plants, including the rhizome, and adjacent leaves; finally, significant accumulation of defense signal molecules such as salicylic and jasmonic acids was recorded in local and systemic leaves following elicitation with BTH. Anatomical sections through the leaves and the rhizome revealed that to be transferred from one leaf to its neighbor, signal molecules must have been transferred through the storage organ. The collected data strongly support our hypothesis that defense signals may and are transferred through the storage organ in monocot geophytes.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.


ABA; BTH; FAA; ISR; LAR; MJ; Methyl jasmonate; PPO; SAR; Signal molecules; Systemic induced resistance; Zantedeschia aethiopica; abscisic acid; benzo (1,2,3)-thiadiazole-7-carbothioc acid S-methyl ester; ddw; deionized distilled water; formaldehyde/acetic acid; induced systemic resistance; localized acquired resistance; methyl jasmonate; polyphenol oxidase; systemic acquired resistance

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