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Plant Cell. 1989 Oct;1(10):993-1001.

Temporal and Spatial Patterns of Gene Expression around Sites of Attempted Fungal Infection in Parsley Leaves.

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Max-Planck-Institut fur Zuchtungsforschung, Abteilung Biochemie, Carl-von-Linne-Weg 10, D-5000 Koln 30, Federal Republic of Germany.


We analyzed the expression patterns of several pathogen defense-related genes in primary leaf buds of parsley by in situ RNA hybridization. Labeled antisense RNA probes were generated from seven selected cDNAs detecting transcripts from genes that are rapidly and strongly activated in cultured parsley cells upon treatment with fungal elicitor. These genes encode two enzymes of general phenylpropanoid metabolism, phenylalanine ammonia-lyase and 4-coumarate:CoA ligase, a furanocoumarin-specific bergaptol O-methyltransferase, one pathogenesis-related protein, and three less well characterized proteins, designated as ELI 3, ELI 5, and ELI 7. In uninfected tissue, phenylalanine ammonia-lyase and 4-coumarate:CoA ligase mRNA levels were high in epidermal cells, oil-duct epithelial cells, and cells of the developing xylem; bergaptol O-methyltransferase mRNA was confined to oil-duct epithelial cells; and the pathogenesis-related protein and ELI 3, ELI 5, and ELI 7 mRNAs were undetectable. All seven mRNAs accumulated transiently and locally around infection sites caused by the soybean-pathogenic fungus Phytophthora megasperma f. sp. glycinea, to which parsley is nonhost-resistant. The observed late appearance of bergaptol O-methyltransferase mRNA, as compared with all other mRNAs, is in accord with a similar relative timing of transient gene activation in elicitor-treated cell cultures. Sharp borders were observed between the infection center, where hypersensitive cell death had occurred in response to fungal penetration, the surrounding area of local gene activation, and the remainder of the tissue not showing any apparent response. Some of the genes were also activated, although less sharply localized, upon wounding of parsley leaves.

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