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Antisense Expression of the Arabidopsis thaliana AtPGIP1 Gene Reduces Polygalacturonase-Inhibiting Protein Accumulation and Enhances Susceptibility to Botrytis cinerea

August 2006 , Volume 19 , Number  8
Pages  931 - 936

Simone Ferrari , Roberta Galletti , Donatella Vairo , Felice Cervone , and Giulia De Lorenzo

Università degli Studi “La Sapienza”, Dipartimento di Biologia Vegetale, Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Roma, Italy

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Accepted 31 March 2006.

Polygalacturonases (PGs) hydrolyze the homogalacturonan of plant cell-wall pectin and are important virulence factors of several phytopathogenic fungi. In response to abiotic and biotic stress, plants accumulate PG-inhibiting proteins (PGIPs) that reduce the activity of fungal PGs. In Arabidopsis thaliana, PGIPs with comparable activity against BcPG1, an important pathogenicity factor of the necrotrophic fungus Botrytis cinerea, are encoded by two genes, AtPGIP1 and AtPGIP2. Both genes are induced by fungal infection through different signaling pathways. We show here that transgenic Arabidopsis plants expressing an antisense AtPGIP1 gene have reduced AtPGIP1 inhibitory activity and are more susceptible to B. cinerea infection. These results indicate that PGIP contributes to basal resistance to this pathogen and strongly support the vision that this protein plays a role in Arabidopsis innate immunity.

Additional keyword: pectic enzymes .

© 2006 The American Phytopathological Society