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Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2008 Feb;72(2):562-7. Epub 2008 Feb 7.

Diterpene phytoalexins are biosynthesized in and exuded from the roots of rice seedlings.

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Department of Bioresource Engineering, Yamagata University, Tsuruoka, Yamagata 997-8555, Japan.


Rice (Oryza sativa L.) produces a variety of diterpene phytoalexins, such as momilactones, phytocassanes, and oryzalexins. Momilactone B was previously identified as an allelopathic substance exuded from the roots of rice. We identified in this present study momilactone A and phytocassanes A-E in extracts of, and exudates from, the roots of rice seedlings. The concentration of each compound was of the same order of magnitude as that of momilactone B. Expression analyses of the diterpene cyclase genes responsible for the biosynthesis of momilactones and phytocassanes suggest that these phytoalexins found in roots are primarily biosynthesized in those roots. None of phytocassanes B-E exhibited allelopathic activity against dicot seedling growth, whereas momilactone A showed much weaker allelopathic activity than momilactone B. The exudation of diterpene phytoalexins from the roots might be part of a system for defense against root-infecting pathogens.

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