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Biological and Molecular Analyses of the Acibenzolar-S-Methyl-Induced Systemic Acquired Resistance in Flue-Cured Tobacco Against Tomato spotted wilt virus

February 2008 , Volume 98 , Number  2
Pages  196 - 204

B. Mandal, S. Mandal, A. S. Csinos, N. Martinez, A. K. Culbreath, and H. R. Pappu

First, second, third, fourth, and fifth authors: Department of Plant Pathology, University of Georgia, Coastal Plain Experiment Station, Tifton 31793; and sixth author: Department of Plant Pathology, P.O. Box 646430, Washington State University, Pullman 99164-6430.

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Accepted for publication 31 October 2007.

Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) is an economically important virus of flue-cured tobacco. Activation of systemic acquired resistance (SAR) by acibenzolar-S-methyl (ASM) in flue-cured tobacco was studied under greenhouse conditions by challenge inoculation with a severe isolate of TSWV. ASM restricted virus replication and movement, and as a result reduced systemic infection. Activation of resistance was observed within 2 days after treatment with ASM and a high level of resistance was observed at 5 days onward. Expression of the pathogenesis-related (PR) protein gene, PR-3, and different classes of PR proteins such as PR-1, PR-3, and PR-5 were detected at 2 days post-ASM treatment which inversely correlated with the reduction in the number of local lesions caused by TSWV. Tobacco plants treated with increased quantities of ASM (0.25, 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, and 4.0 g a.i./7,000 plants) showed increased levels of SAR as indicated by the reduction of both local and systemic infections by TSWV. The highest level of resistance was at 4 g a.i., but this rate of ASM also caused phytotoxicity resulting in temporary foliar spotting and stunting of plants. An inverse correlation between the TSWV reduction and phytotoxicity was observed with the increase of ASM concentration. ASM at the rate of 1 to 2 g a.i./7,000 plants activated a high level of resistance and minimized the phytotoxicity. Use of gibberellic acid in combination with ASM reduced the stunting caused by ASM. Present findings together with previous field experiments demonstrate that ASM is a potential option for management of TSWV in flue-cured tobacco.

© 2008 The American Phytopathological Society