Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry, Weinberg 3, D-06120 Halle (Saale), Germany
Inducing systemic resistance responses in crop plants is a promising alternative way of disease management. To understand the underlying signaling events leading to induced resistance, functional analyses of plants defective in defined signaling pathway steps are required. We used potato, one of the economically most-important crop plants worldwide, to examine systemic resistance against the devastating late blight pathogen Phytophthora infestans, induced by treatment with dl-β-aminobutyric acid (BABA). Transgenic plants impaired in either the 9-lipoxygenase pathway, which produces defense-related compounds, or the 13-lipoxygenase pathway, which generates jasmonic acid--derived signals, expressed wild-type levels of BABA-induced resistance. Plants incapable of accumulating salicylic acid (SA), on the other hand, failed to mount this type of induced resistance. Consistently, treatment of these plants with the SA analog 2,6-dichloroisonicotinic acid restored BABA-induced resistance. Together, these results demonstrate the indispensability of a functional SA pathway for systemic resistance in potato induced by BABA.