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Plant Cell. 2000 Sep;12(9):1689-702.

Genetic manipulation of isoflavone 7-O-methyltransferase enhances biosynthesis of 4'-O-methylated isoflavonoid phytoalexins and disease resistance in alfalfa.

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Plant Biology Division, Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, 2510 Sam Noble Parkway, Ardmore, Oklahoma 73401, USA.


4'-O-Methylation of an isoflavonoid intermediate is a key reaction in the biosynthesis of the phytoalexin medicarpin in legumes. However, isoflavone O-methyltransferase (IOMT) from alfalfa converts the isoflavone daidzein to 7-O-methyl daidzein (isoformononetin) in vitro as well as in vivo in unchallenged leaves of transgenic alfalfa ectopically expressing IOMT. In contrast, elicitation of IOMT-overexpressing plants with CuCl(2) or infecting these plants with Phoma medicaginis leads to greater accumulation of formononetin (4'-O-methyl daidzein) and medicarpin in the leaves than does elicitation or infection of control plants, and no isoformononetin is detected. Overexpression of IOMT results in increased induction of phenylpropanoid/isoflavonoid pathway gene transcripts after infection but has little effect on basal expression of these genes. IOMT-overexpressing plants display resistance to P. medicaginis. The apparently different regiospecificities of IOMT in vivo and in vitro are discussed in relation to potential metabolic channeling at the entry point into the isoflavonoid pathway.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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