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Plant Cell. 2002 May;14(5):1093-107.

Downregulation of a pathogen-responsive tobacco UDP-Glc:phenylpropanoid glucosyltransferase reduces scopoletin glucoside accumulation, enhances oxidative stress, and weakens virus resistance.

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  • 1Institut de Biologie Moléculaire des Plantes, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Université Louis Pasteur, 12 rue du Général Zimmer, 67084 Strasbourg Cedex, France.


Plant UDP-Glc:phenylpropanoid glucosyltransferases (UGTs) catalyze the transfer of Glc from UDP-Glc to numerous substrates and regulate the activity of compounds that play important roles in plant defense against pathogens. We previously characterized two tobacco salicylic acid- and pathogen-inducible UGTs (TOGTs) that act very efficiently on the hydroxycoumarin scopoletin and on hydroxycinnamic acids. To identify the physiological roles of these UGTs in plant defense, we generated TOGT-depleted tobacco plants by antisense expression. After inoculation with Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV), TOGT-inhibited plants exhibited a significant decrease in the glucoside form of scopoletin (scopolin) and a decrease in scopoletin UGT activity. Unexpectedly, free scopoletin levels also were reduced in TOGT antisense lines. Scopolin and scopoletin reduction in TOGT-depleted lines resulted in a strong decrease of the blue fluorescence in cells surrounding TMV lesions and was associated with weakened resistance to infection with TMV. Consistent with the proposed role of scopoletin as a reactive oxygen intermediate (ROI) scavenger, TMV also triggered a more sustained ROI accumulation in TOGT-downregulated lines. Our results demonstrate the involvement of TOGT in scopoletin glucosylation in planta and provide evidence of the crucial role of a UGT in plant defense responses. We propose that TOGT-mediated glucosylation is required for scopoletin accumulation in cells surrounding TMV lesions, where this compound could both exert a direct antiviral effect and participate in ROI buffering.

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