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Differences in the Methyl Ester Distribution of Homogalacturonans from Near-Isogenic Wheat Lines Resistant and Susceptible to the Wheat Stem Rust Fungus

October 2003 , Volume 16 , Number  10
Pages  945 - 952

Nicola Wiethölter , 1 Barbara Graeßner , 2 , 3 Manfred Mierau , 2 Andrew J. Mort , 3 Bruno M. Moerschbacher 1

1Institut für Biochemie und Biotechnologie der Pflanzen, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Hindenburgplatz 55, 48143 Münster, Germany; 2Institut für Biologie III, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, Worringer Weg 1, 52056 Aachen, Germany; 3Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Oklahoma State University, 246 Noble Research Centre, Stillwater, OK 74078, U.S.A.

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Accepted 16 June 2003.

Plants possess an efficient nonself surveillance system triggering induced disease resistance mechanisms upon molecular recognition of microbial invaders. Successful pathogens have evolved strategies to evade or counteract these mechanisms, e.g., by the generation of suppressors. Pectic fragments produced during host cell wall degradation can act as endogenous suppressors of the hypersensitive response in wheat leaves. We have isolated and characterized ho-mogalacturonans from cell walls of two wheat cultivars susceptible to the stem rust fungus, Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici, namely cvs. Prelude and Marquis, and from near-isogenic lines of both cultivars containing the Sr5-gene for hypersensitive rust resistance. Two independent approaches were used to compare their methyl esterification: i) immunochemistry using the monoclonal antibodies JIM5, JIM7, PAM1, and LM7 and ii) chromatography of oligogalacturonides representing stretches of contiguous nonmethyl-esterified GalA residues. The results clearly indicate a significant difference in the homogalacturonans from susceptible and resistant wheat lines. The difference can best be explained by assuming a nonrandom and more blockwise distribution of the methyl esters in the homoga-lacturonans of susceptible wheat cultivars as compared with a presumably more random distribution in the near-isogenic resistant lines. Possible consequences of this difference for the enzymatic generation of endogenous suppressors are discussed.

Additional keyword: pectin.

© 2003 The American Phytopathological Society