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Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 2000 May;13(5):551-62.

Constitutive accumulation of a resveratrol-glucoside in transgenic alfalfa increases resistance to Phoma medicaginis.

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The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Ardmore, OK 73402, USA.


Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) was transformed with a peanut (Arachis hypogaea) cDNA encoding resveratrol synthase (RS) transcriptionally regulated by an enhanced Cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) 35S promoter. Transgenic plants accumulated a new compound, not present in wild-type or vector-transformed alfalfa, that was identified as trans-resveratrol-3-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside (RGluc) by high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC), UV, 1H- and 13C-nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analyses. RGluc concentration was highest in the youngest leaves (>15 microg per g fresh weight) and oldest stem internode segments (>10 microg per g fresh weight) while roots contained only trace amounts (<0.2 microg per g fresh weight). RS transcript levels were highest in leaves and stems, with comparatively little transcript accumulation in the roots, while an inverse pattern was observed for chalcone synthase (CHS) transcript levels. CHS directly competes with RS for the metabolic precursors p-coumaroyl CoA and malonyl CoA, and may also contribute to the developmental variations in RGluc levels by limiting the availability of substrates. Agar-plate bioassays indicated that both RGluc and resveratrol greatly inhibit hyphal growth of the alfalfa fungal pathogen Phoma medicaginis. Subsequently, RGluc-containing leaves were wound inoculated and showed a significant reduction (relative to control leaves) in the size of necrotic lesions, intensity of adjacent chlorosis, and number of fungal reproductive structures (pycnidia). Decreasing sporulation of this pathogen may greatly reduce disease spread and severity throughout the field.

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