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Plant Physiol. 1991 May;96(1):44-9.

Defense mechanisms of conifers : differences in constitutive and wound-induced monoterpene biosynthesis among species.

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Institute of Biological Chemistry and Biochemistry/Biophysics Program, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington 99164-6340.


Levels of monoterpene cyclase activity were determined in extracts from wounded and unwounded saplings of 10 conifer species to assess whether oleoresin biosynthesis is induced by stem wounding. Species of Abies and Picea, with low to moderate levels of constitutive monoterpene cyclase activity, exhibited a five- to 15-fold increase in cyclase activity 7 days after wounding relative to unwounded controls. In contrast, species of genera such as Pinus, with high levels of constitutive cyclase activity, did not significantly respond to wounding by alteration in the level of cyclase activity. The highest fold increase in monoterpene cyclase activity was consistently observed in Abies grandis, and the time-course of induction of activity following stem wounding in this species demonstrated a threefold increase at 2 days relative to unwounded controls, rising to a maximum increase in the response at 9 days (greater than 10-fold) followed by an apparent decline. The wound response was localized, and both bark (phloem) and wood (xylem) tissues displayed increased cyclase activity at the wound site. The magnitude of the increase in cyclase activity was dependent on the severity of the wound.

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