Department of Plant Pathology, 1630 Linden Drive, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706 U.S.A.
When tobacco plants were treated by injection with nitric oxide (NO)-releasing compounds, the sizes of lesions caused by Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) on the treated leaves and on upper nontreated leaves were significantly reduced. The reduction in TMV lesion size was caused by NO released from the NO-releasing compounds; the byproduct formed after release of NO from the NO-releasing compound NOC-18, diethylenetriamine, did not itself alter lesion size. Treatment of tobacco plants with inhibitors of nitric oxide synthase or an NO scavenger attenuated but did not abolish the systemic acquired resistance (SAR) induced by salicylic acid (SA). In NahG transgenic tobacco plants, NO had no effect on lesion size following TMV infection. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that NO plays an important role in SAR induction in tobacco and that NO is required for the full function of SA as an SAR inducer. The activity of NO is fully dependent on the function of SA in the SAR signaling pathway in tobacco.