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Plant Mol Biol. 2006 Nov;62(4-5):561-78. Epub 2006 Aug 29.

Transcriptional changes in powdery mildew infected wheat and Arabidopsis leaves undergoing syringolin-triggered hypersensitive cell death at infection sites.

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Institute of Plant Biology, University of Zurich, Zollikerstrasse 107, CH-8000 Zurich, Switzerland.


Blumeria graminis f.sp. tritici, the causal agent of powdery mildew in wheat, is an obligate biotrophic fungus that exclusively invades epidermal cells. As previously shown, spraying of a solution of syringolin A, a circular peptide derivative secreted by the phytopathogenic bacterium Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae, triggers hypersensitive cell death at infection sites in powdery mildew infected wheat. Thus, the fungus is essentially eradicated. Here we show that syringolin A also triggers hypersensitive cell death in Arabidopsis infected with the powdery mildew fungus Erysiphe cichoracearum. To monitor transcriptional changes associated with this effect, we cloned 307 cDNA clones representing 158 unigenes from powdery mildew infected, syringolin A sprayed wheat leaves by a suppression subtractive hybridization cloning procedure. These cDNAs were microarrayed onto glass slides together with 1088 cDNA-AFLP clones from powdery mildew-infected wheat. Microarray hybridization experiments were performed with probes derived from leaves, epidermal tissue, and mesophyll preparations of mildewed or uninfected wheat plants after syringolin A or control treatment. Similar experiments were performed in Arabidopsis using the Affymetrix ATH1 whole genome GeneChip. The results indicate a conserved mode of action of syringolin A as similar gene groups are induced in both species. Prominent groups include genes associated with the proteasomal degradation pathway, mitochondrial and other heat shock genes, genes involved in mitochondrial alternative electron pathways, and genes encoding glycolytic and fermentative enzymes. Surprisingly, in both species the observed transcriptional response to syringolin A was considerably weaker in infected plants as compared to uninfected plants. The results lead to the working hypothesis that cell death observed at infection sites may result from a parasite-induced suppression of the transcriptional response and thus to insufficient production of protective proteins necessary for the recovery of these cells from whatever insult is imposed by syringolin A.

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