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Silencing Genes Encoding Omega-3 Fatty Acid Desaturase Alters Seed Size and Accumulation of Bean pod mottle virus in Soybean

April 2011 , Volume 24 , Number  4
Pages  506 - 515

Ajay Kumar Singh,1 Da-Qi Fu,1 Mohamed El-Habbak,1 Duroy Navarre,2 Said Ghabrial,1 and Aardra Kachroo1

1Department of Plant Pathology, University of Kentucky, Lexington 40546 U.S.A.; 2Department of Plant Pathology, United States Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service, Washington State University, Prosser 99350, U.S.A.

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Accepted 24 November 2010.

Omega-3 fatty acid desaturase (FAD3)-catalyzed conversion of linoleic acid to linolenic acid (18:3) is an important step for the biosynthesis of fatty acids as well as the phytohormone jasmonic acid (JA) in plants. We report that silencing three microsomal isoforms of GmFAD3 enhanced the accumulation of Bean pod mottle virus (BPMV) in soybean. The GmFAD3-silenced plants also accumulated higher levels of JA, even though they contained slightly reduced levels of 18:3. Consequently, the GmFAD3-silenced plants expressed JA-responsive pathogenesis-related genes constitutively and exhibited enhanced susceptibility to virulent Pseudomonas syringae. Increased accumulation of BPMV in GmFAD3-silenced plants was likely associated with their JA levels, because exogenous JA application also increased BPMV accumulation. The JA-derived increase in BPMV levels was likely not due to repression of salicylic acid (SA)-derived signaling because the GmFAD3-silenced plants were enhanced in SA-dependent defenses. Furthermore, neither exogenous SA application nor silencing the SA-synthesizing phenylalanine ammonia lyase gene altered BPMV levels in soybean. In addition to the altered defense responses, the GmFAD3-silenced plants also produced significantly larger and heavier seed. Our results indicate that loss of GmFAD3 enhances JA accumulation and, thereby, susceptibility to BPMV in soybean.

© 2011 The American Phytopathological Society