Systemic acquired resistance (SAR) is an induced defense response that confers long-lasting protection against a broad range of microbial pathogens. Here we show that treatment of Brassica napus plants with the SAR-inducing chemical benzo-(1,2,3)-thiadiazole-7-carbothioic acid S-methyl ester (BTH) significantly enhanced resistance against virulent strains of the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. maculicola and the fungal pathogen Leptosphaeria maculans. Localized preinoculation of plants with an avirulent strain of P. syringae pv. maculicola also enhanced resistance to these pathogens but was not as effective as BTH treatment. Single applications of either SAR-inducing pretreatment were effective against P. syringae pv. maculicola, even when given more than 3 weeks prior to the secondary challenge. The pretreatments also led to the accumulation of pathogenesis-related (PR) genes, including BnPR-1 and BnPR-2, with higher levels of transcripts observed in the BTH-treatment material. B. napus plants expressing a bacterial salicylate hydroxylase transgene (NahG) that metabolizes salicylic acid to catechol were substantially compromised in SAR and accumulated reduced levels of PR gene transcripts when compared with untransformed controls. Thus, SAR in B. napus displays many of the hallmarks of classical SAR including long lasting and broad host range resistance, association with PR gene activation, and a requirement for salicylic acid.
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