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Silencing and Heterologous Expression of ppo-2 Indicate a Specific Function of a Single Polyphenol Oxidase Isoform in Resistance of Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) Against Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato

February 2012 , Volume 25 , Number  2
Pages  200 - 210

Carolin Richter,1 Mareike E. Dirks,1 Christian Schulze Gronover,2 Dirk Prüfer,1,2 and Bruno M. Moerschbacher1

1Westphalian Wilhelms-University of Münster, Department of Plant Biology and Biotechnology, Hindenburgplatz 55, 48143 Münster, Germany; 2Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology (IME), Forckenbeckstrasse 6, 52074 Aachen, Germany

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Accepted 17 October 2011.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) possesses an unusually high degree of disease resistance. As this plant exhibits high polyphenol oxidase (PPO) activity and PPO have been implicated in resistance against pests and pathogens, we analyzed the potential involvement of five PPO isoenzymes in the resistance of dandelion against Botrytis cinerea and Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato. Only one PPO (ppo-2) was induced during infection, and ppo-2 promoter and β-glucuronidase marker gene fusions revealed strong induction of the gene surrounding lesions induced by B. cinerea. Specific RNAi silencing reduced ppo-2 expression only, and concomitantly increased plant susceptibility to P. syringae pv. tomato. At 4 days postinoculation, P. syringae pv. tomato populations were strongly increased in the ppo-2 RNAi lines compared with wild-type plants. When the dandelion ppo-2 gene was expressed in Arabidopsis thaliana, a plant having no PPO gene, active protein was formed and protein extracts of the transgenic plants exhibited substrate-dependent antimicrobial activity against P. syringae pv. tomato. These results clearly indicate a strong contribution of a specific, single PPO isoform to disease resistance. Therefore, we propose that specific PPO isoenzymes be included in a new family of pathogenesis-related (PR) proteins.

© 2012 The American Phytopathological Society