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Abnormal Accumulation of Sugars and Phenolics in Tobacco Roots Expressing the Agrobacterium T-6b Oncogene and the Role of These Compounds in 6b-Induced Growth

January 2007 , Volume 20 , Number  1
Pages  53 - 62

Bernadette Clément , 1 Jonathan Perot , 1 Pierrette Geoffroy , 1 Michel Legrand , 1 Jerzy Zon , 2 and Léon Otten 1

1Department of Cell Biology, Plant Molecular Biology Institute of the C. N. R. S., Rue du Général Zimmer 12, Strasbourg 67084, France; 2Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Microbiology, Laboratory of Molecular Chemistry, Wybrzeze Wyspianskiego 27, 50--370. Wroclaw Poland

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Accepted 8 August 2006.

The Agrobacterium T-DNA oncogene 6b induces tumors and modifies the growth of transgenic plants by an unknown mechanism. We have investigated changes in roots of tobacco seedlings that express a dexamethasone-inducible T-6b (dex-T-6b) gene. On induction medium with sucrose, intact or isolated dex-T-6b roots accumulated sucrose, glucose, and fructose and changed their growth, contrary to noninduced roots. Root fragments bridging agar blocks with or without sucrose accumulated sugars at the site of sucrose uptake, resulting in local growth. Induced root fragments showed enhanced uptake of 14C-labeled sucrose, glucose, and fructose. When seedlings were placed on sucrose-free induction medium, sugar levels strongly decreased in roots and increased in cotyledons. Collectively, these results demonstrate that 6b stimulates sugar uptake and retention with drastic effects on growth. Apart from sugars, phenolic compounds also have been found to accumulate in 6b tissues and have been proposed earlier to play a role in 6b-induced growth. Induced dex-T-6b roots accumulated high levels of 5-caffeoylquinic acid (or chlorogenic acid [CGA]), but only under conditions where endogenous sugars increased. Inhibition of phenyla-lanine ammonia-lyase with the competitive inhibitor 2-ami-noindan-2-phosphonic acid (AIP) abolished CGA accumulation without modifying sugar accumulation or affecting the 6b phenotype. We conclude that the absorption, retention, and abnormal accumulation of sugars are essential factors in 6b-induced growth changes, whereas phenylpropanoids only marginally contribute to the 6b seedling phenotype.

Additional Keywords: crown gall, plast family.

© 2007 The American Phytopathological Society