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Plant J. 2004 Apr;38(1):119-30.

Beta-amino-butyric acid-induced resistance against necrotrophic pathogens is based on ABA-dependent priming for callose.

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Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Department of Science, Institute of Botany, University of Neuch√Ętel, Rue Emile-Argand 9, PO Box 2, CH-2007 Neuch√Ętel, Switzerland.


The non-protein amino acid beta-amino-butyric acid (BABA) protects plants against a wide range of pathogens. We have examined the effectiveness and mode of action of BABA on resistance against two necrotrophic pathogens. Treatment of Arabidopsis with BABA induced resistance against Alternaria brassicicola and Plectosphaerella cucumerina to a similar level by jasmonic acid (JA). Conversely, treatment with benzothiadiazole (BTH), a functional analogue of salicylic acid (SA), had no significant effect on the resistance against both pathogens. BABA-induced resistance against A. brassicicola and P. cucumerina was unaffected in the JA-insensitive mutant coi1-1 and the camalexin-deficient mutant pad3-1. Moreover, the expression of BABA-induced resistance was not associated with enhanced accumulation of camalexin or enhanced transcription of the JA-inducible PDF1.2 gene. The expression of BABA-induced resistance against P. cucumerina was unaffected in mutants impaired in ethylene (ET) and SA signalling, but was blocked in the abscisic acid (ABA)-deficient mutant aba1-5, the ABA-insensitive mutant abi4-1 and the callose-deficient mutant pmr4-1. Upon infection by both pathogens, BABA-treated plants showed an earlier and more pronounced accumulation of callose. Treatment with the callose-inhibitor 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DDG) reversed the BABA-induced resistance against A. brassicicola. Furthermore, primed callose deposition was absent in BABA-treated abi4-1 and pmr4-1 plants upon infection by P. cucumerina. Although the expression of BABA-induced resistance was not associated with enhanced transcription of the ABA-inducible RAB18 gene, application of ABA mimicked the effect of BABA on the level of callose accumulation and resistance. Hence, BABA-induced resistance against necrotrophic pathogens is based on primed callose accumulation, which is controlled by an ABA-dependent defence pathway.

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