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Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 2010 Sep;23(9):1151-63. doi: 10.1094/MPMI-23-9-1151.

Methyl esterase 1 (StMES1) is required for systemic acquired resistance in potato.

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Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, Tower Road, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


Whether salicylic acid (SA) plays a role in systemic acquired resistance (SAR) signaling in potato is currently unclear because potato, unlike tobacco and Arabidopsis, contains highly elevated levels of endogenous SA. Recent studies have indicated that the SA derivative methyl salicylate (MeSA) serves as a long-distance phloem-mobile SAR signal in tobacco and Arabidopsis. Once in the distal, uninfected tissue of these plant species, MeSA must be converted into biologically active SA by the esterase activity of SA-binding protein 2 (SABP2) in tobacco or members of the AtMES family in Arabidopsis. In this study, we have identified the potato ortholog of tobacco SABP2 (StMES1) and shown that the recombinant protein converts MeSA to SA; this MeSA esterase activity is feedback inhibited by SA or its synthetic analog, 2, 2, 2, 2'-tetra-fluoroacetophenone (tetraFA). Potato plants (cv. Désirée) in which StMES1 activity was suppressed, due to either tetraFA treatment or silencing of StMES1 expression, were compromised for arachidonic acid (AA)-induced SAR development against Phytophthora infestans. Presumably due to the inability of these plants to convert MeSA to SA, the SAR-defective phenotype correlated with elevated levels of MeSA and reduced expression of pathogenesis-related (PR) genes in the untreated distal tissue. Together, these results strongly suggest that SAR signaling in potato requires StMES1, its corresponding MeSA esterase activity, and MeSA. Furthermore, the similarities between SAR signaling in potato, tobacco, and Arabidopsis suggest that at least certain SAR signaling components are conserved among plants, regardless of endogenous SA levels.

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