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J Plant Physiol. 2008 Dec;165(18):1895-905. doi: 10.1016/j.jplph.2008.04.020. Epub 2008 Jun 27.

Comparative histochemical analyses of oxidative burst and cell wall reinforcement in compatible and incompatible melon-powdery mildew (Podosphaera fusca) interactions.

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  • 1Grupo de Microbiología y Patología Vegetal-Unidad Asociada al CSIC, Departamento de Microbiología, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Málaga, 29071 Málaga, Spain.


The spatial-temporal expression patterns of oxidative burst and cell wall reinforcement were analyzed in leaves of resistant and susceptible melon (Cucumis melo L.) cultivars in response to Podosphaera fusca (Fr.) Braun & Shishkoff, the main causal agent of powdery mildew in cucurbits. Extensive development of powdery mildew mycelia and a progressive increase in haustorial count were recorded in the susceptible cultivar after 4d, while in the resistant cultivar powdery mildew failed to grow and small brownish and necrotic leaf areas were frequently observed. Rapid generation of the reactive oxygen intermediates hydrogen peroxide and superoxide radicals 4h after pathogen challenge, but before the fungal haustoria formation, stood upstream in the cascade of events induced during these interactions. This oxidative burst was followed by the accumulation of strengthening polymers of callose and lignin at the cell wall of attacked resistant plant cells. Interestingly, the transcriptional levels of phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL), an important enzyme for phenylpropanoid metabolism, did not significantly change throughout the experiments. Although these physiological changes were observed in both cultivars, their faster kinetics and amplitude in the resistant line compared to the susceptible cultivar governed the differential visual response of these cultivars against P. fusca. These findings, along with data obtained in previous studies, have provided the bases for an integrated model in which the spatial-temporal response patterns of these resistance mechanisms have been arranged, which may ultimately lead to successful protection of melon plants against P. fusca.

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