Link to home

Early Events Prior to Visual Symptoms in the Apoplectic Form of Grapevine Esca Disease

May 2010 , Volume 100 , Number  5
Pages  424 - 431

P. Letousey, F. Baillieul, G. Perrot, F. Rabenoelina, M. Boulay, N. Vaillant-Gaveau, C. Clément, and F. Fontaine

First, second, third, fourth, sixth, seventh, and eighth authors: Laboratoire de Stress, Défenses et Reproduction des Plantes, URVVC-SE EA 2069, Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne, UFR Sciences Exactes et Naturelles, Moulin de la Housse, BP 1039, 51687 Reims Cedex 2, France; and fifth author: MoËt et Chandon, 6 rue Croix de Bussy, 51200 Epernay, France.

Go to article:
Accepted for publication 21 December 2009.

Plant infection by pathogens generates various forms of symptoms. Most of them have been described as soon as they become visible, whereas preceding, discrete signs during incubation are poorly or not understood. In Vitis vinifera, esca-related pathogenic fungi inhabit living trunk wood and induce the so-called apoplexy, a sudden wilting of leaves within a few days. To further understand the apoplexy expression, the period preceding symptom appearance was investigated by following physiological and molecular markers associated with photosynthetic mechanisms and stress responses. Within the week preceding symptoms, drastic physiological alterations of photosynthesis were registered in pre-apoplectic vines, as revealed by a decrease in gas exchange, changes in chlorophyll fluorescence, and repression of photosynthesis-related genes. In the meantime, expression of defense-related genes was induced and amplified during symptom expression. Water-stress-related genes were specifically investigated because water transport may be impeded by clogging xylem vessels due to esca-causing fungi. Neither of the tested water-stress-related genes was affected in pre-apoplectic grapevine leaves whereas these genes were downregulated in drying leaves. Our results suggest that, during incubation of esca apoplexy, grapevine perceives some signals (likely fungi-originated toxins) and reacts by reducing photosynthesis and triggering defense mechanisms.

Additional keywords:defense responses, early detection, esca apoplectic form.

The American Phytopathological Society, 2010