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Riboflavin Induces Disease Resistance in Plants by Activating a Novel Signal Transduction Pathway

August 2000 , Volume 90 , Number  8
Pages  801 - 811

H. Dong and S. V. Beer

Department of Plant Pathology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853

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Accepted for publication 14 April 2000.

The role of riboflavin as an elicitor of systemic resistance and an activator of a novel signaling process in plants was demonstrated. Following treatment with riboflavin, Arabidopsis thaliana developed systemic resistance to Peronospora parasitica and Pseudomonas syringae pv. Tomato, and tobacco developed systemic resistance to Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) and Alternaria alternata. Riboflavin, at concentrations necessary for resistance induction, did not cause cell death in plants or directly affect growth of the culturable pathogens. Riboflavin induced expression of pathogenesis-related (PR) genes in the plants, suggesting its ability to trigger a signal transduction pathway that leads to systemic resistance. Both the protein kinase inhibitor K252a and mutation in the NIM1/NPR1 gene which controls transcription of defense genes, impaired responsiveness to riboflavin. In contrast, riboflavin induced resistance and PR gene expression in NahG plants, which fail to accumulate salicylic acid (SA). Thus, riboflavin-induced resistance requires protein kinase signaling mechanisms and a functional NIM1/NPR1 gene, but not accumulation of SA. Riboflavin is an elicitor of systemic resistance, and it triggers resistance signal transduction in a distinct manner.

Additional keywords: protein kinase cascade, systemic acquired resistance.

© 2000 The American Phytopathological Society