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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1995 Aug 1;92(16):7143-7.

Two inducers of plant defense responses, 2,6-dichloroisonicotinec acid and salicylic acid, inhibit catalase activity in tobacco.

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  • 1Waksman Institute and Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, NJ 08855, USA.


2,6-Dichloroisonicotinic acid (INA) and salicylic acid (SA) are potent inducers of plant defense responses including the synthesis of pathogenesis-related (PR) proteins and the development of enhanced disease resistance. A soluble SA-binding protein has been purified from tobacco with an affinity and specificity of binding that suggest it is a SA receptor. Recently, this protein has been shown to be a catalase whose enzymatic activity is inhibited by SA binding. We have proposed that the resulting increase in intracellular levels of reactive oxygen species plays a role in the induction of defense responses such as PR protein gene expression. Here we report that INA, like SA, binds the SA-binding protein/catalase and inhibits its enzymatic activity. In fact, the dose-response curves for inhibition of catalase by these two compounds are similar. Furthermore, the ability of both INA analogues and SA derivatives to bind and inhibit tobacco catalase correlates with their biological activity to induce PR-1 gene expression and enhance resistance to tobacco mosaic virus. Comparison of the structures of INA, SA, and their analogues reveals several common features that appear to be important for biological activity. Thus, these results not only suggest that INA and SA share the same mechanism of action that involves binding and inhibition of catalase but also further indicate an important role for reactive oxygen species in the induction of certain plant defense responses. This is supported by the demonstration that INA-mediated PR-1 gene activation is suppressed by antioxidants.

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