1Institut de Biologie Moléculaire des Plantes du CNRS, 67084 Strasbourg cedex, France; 2UMR 1931 (CNRS and Laboratoires Goëmar), Station Biologique de Roscoff, Place Georges Teissier, 29680 Roscoff, France
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Accepted 9 October 2002.
Sulfated fucans are common structural components of the cell walls of marine brown algae. Using a fucan-degrading hydrolase isolated from a marine bacterium, we prepared sulfated fucan oligosaccharides made of mono- and disulfated fucose units alternatively bound by α-1,4 and α-1,3 glycosidic linkages, respectively. Here, we report on the elicitor activity of such fucan oligosaccharide preparations in tobacco. In suspension cell cultures, oligofucans at the dose of 200 μg ml−1 rapidly induced a marked alkalinization of the extracellular medium and the release of hydrogen peroxide. This was followed within a few hours by a strong stimulation of phenylalanine ammonia-lyase and lipoxygenase activities. Tobacco leaves treated with oligofucans locally accumulated salicylic acid (SA) and the phytoalexin scopoletin and expressed several pathogenesis-related (PR) proteins, but they displayed no symptoms of cell death. Fucan oligosaccharides also induced the systemic accumulation of SA and the acidic PR protein PR-1, two markers of systemic acquired resistance (SAR). Consistently, fucan oligosaccharides strongly stimulated both local and systemic resistance to tobacco mosaic virus (TMV). The use of transgenic plants unable to accumulate SA indicated that, as in the SAR primed by TMV, SA is required for the establishment of oligofucan-induced resistance.
© 2003 The American Phytopathological Society