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Mol Plant Pathol. 2011 Sep;12(7):638-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1364-3703.2010.00702.x. Epub 2011 Feb 17.

Invertases involved in the development of the parasitic plant Phelipanche ramosa: characterization of the dominant soluble acid isoform, PrSAI1.

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Laboratoire de Biologie et Pathologie Végétales, Université de Nantes, IFR 149 QUASAV, EA 1157, 2 rue de la Houssinière, BP 92208, 44322 Nantes Cedex 3, France.


Phelipanche ramosa L. parasitizes major crops, acting as a competitive sink for host photoassimilates, especially sucrose. An understanding of the mechanisms of sucrose utilization in parasites is an important step in the development of new control methods. Therefore, in this study, we characterized the invertase gene family in P. ramosa and analysed its involvement in plant development. Invertase-encoded cDNAs were isolated using degenerate primers corresponding to highly conserved regions of invertases. In addition to enzyme assays, gene expression was analysed using real-time quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction during overall plant development. The dominant isoform was purified and sequenced using electrospray ionization-liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (ESI-LC-MS/MS). Five invertase-encoded cDNAs were thus characterized, including PrSai1 which encodes a soluble acid invertase (SAI). Of the five invertases, PrSai1 transcripts and SAI activity were dominant in growing organs. The most active invertase corresponded to the PrSai1 gene product. The purified PrSAI1 displayed low pI and optimal pH values, specificity for β-fructofuranosides and inhibition by metallic ions and competitive inhibition by fructose. PrSAI1 is a typical vacuolar SAI that is actively involved in growth following both germination and attachment to host roots. In addition, germinated seeds displayed enhanced cell wall invertase activity (PrCWI) in comparison with preconditioned seeds, suggesting the contribution of this activity in the sink strength of infected roots during the subsequent step of root penetration. Our results show that PrSAI1 and, possibly, PrCWI constitute good targets for the development of new transgenic resistance in host plants using proteinaceous inhibitors or silencing strategies.

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