Potato Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, P.O. Box 20280, 850 Lincoln Road, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada E3B 4Z7
The effects of salicylic acid (SA) and 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) on the systemic development of symptoms induced by a severe isolate of Potato virus Y group N:O (PVYN:O) in tobacco were investigated. Upon inoculation, the systemic development of symptoms in tobacco plants could be divided into three stages: virus incubation stage, rapid symptom-progress stage, and partial recovery and symptom-shifting stage. Treatment of seedlings with SA delayed the virus-induced necrosis in stems by 1 to 2 days. SA, not ACC, also significantly suppressed the symptom severity in stems. However, neither SA nor ACC treatment affected the partial recovery phenotype exhibited in the latterly emerged upper parts of the plants. Further analysis indicated that the accumulation of PVY was retarded by SA at the early stage of infection, and the effects were more profound in stems than leaves. Peroxidase (POX) activity and pathogenesis-related (PR) genes PR-1a and PR-1b were enhanced by PVY infection. SA not only increased POX activity in stems and PR genes in stems and leaves of mock-inoculated plants, but also elevated the activity of POX in both leaves and stems and the expression of PR-1a in leaves of PVY-infected plants. Together, the results suggest that systemic acquired resistance plays a key role in suppressing PVYN:O-induced symptom development through SA-mediated and ethylene-independent pathways. The symptom suppression was correlated with reduced replication/ accumulation of virus at the early stage of infection. The results also suggest that neither SA nor ethylene plays a role in the recovery phenotype.