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Plant Physiol. 2013 Mar;161(3):1433-44. doi: 10.1104/pp.112.211011. Epub 2013 Jan 18.

Elevated early callose deposition results in complete penetration resistance to powdery mildew in Arabidopsis.

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Phytopathology and Biochemistry, Biocenter Klein Flottbek, University of Hamburg, 22609 Hamburg, Germany.


A common response by plants to fungal attack is deposition of callose, a (1,3)-β-glucan polymer, in the form of cell wall thickenings called papillae, at site of wall penetration. While it has been generally believed that the papillae provide a structural barrier to slow fungal penetration, this idea has been challenged in recent studies of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), where fungal resistance was found to be independent of callose deposition. To the contrary, we show that callose can strongly support penetration resistance when deposited in elevated amounts at early time points of infection. We generated transgenic Arabidopsis lines that express POWDERY MILDEW RESISTANT4 (PMR4), which encodes a stress-induced callose synthase, under the control of the constitutive 35S promoter. In these lines, we detected callose synthase activity that was four times higher than that in wild-type plants 6 h post inoculation with the virulent powdery mildew Golovinomyces cichoracearum. The callose synthase activity was correlated with enlarged callose deposits and the focal accumulation of green fluorescent protein-tagged PMR4 at sites of attempted fungal penetration. We observed similar results from infection studies with the nonadapted powdery mildew Blumeria graminis f. sp. hordei. Haustoria formation was prevented in resistant transgenic lines during both types of powdery mildew infection, and neither the salicylic acid-dependent nor jasmonate-dependent pathways were induced. We present a schematic model that highlights the differences in callose deposition between the resistant transgenic lines and the susceptible wild-type plants during compatible and incompatible interactions between Arabidopsis and powdery mildew.

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