Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Oregon State University, Corvallis 97331, U.S.A.
Ptr ToxA (ToxA) is a proteinaceous necrotizing host-selective toxin produced by Pyrenophora tritici-repentis, a fungal pathogen of wheat (Triticum aestivum). In this study, we have found that treatment of ToxA-sensitive wheat leaves with ToxA leads to a light-dependent accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that correlates with the onset of necrosis. Furthermore, the accumulation of ROS and necrosis could be inhibited by the antioxidant N-acetyl cysteine, providing further evidence that ROS production is required for necrosis. Microscopic evaluation of ToxA-treated whole-leaf tissue indicated that ROS accumulation occurs in the chloroplasts. Analysis of total protein extracts from ToxA-treated leaves showed a light-dependent reduction of the chloroplast protein RuBisCo. In addition, Blue native-gel electrophoresis followed by sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis analysis revealed that ToxA induces changes in photosystem I (PSI) and photosystem II (PSII) in the absence of light, and therefore, the absence of ROS. When ToxA-treated leaves were exposed to light, all proteins in both PSI and PSII were extremely reduced. We propose that ToxA induces alterations in PSI and PSII affecting photosynthetic electron transport, which subsequently leads to ROS accumulation and cell death when plants are exposed to light.