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Glyceollin is an Important Component of Soybean Plant Defense Against Phytophthora sojae and Macrophomina phaseolina

October 2013 , Volume 103 , Number  10
Pages  984 - 994

Anatoliy V. Lygin, Olga V. Zernova, Curtis B. Hill, Nadegda A. Kholina, Jack M. Widholm, Glen L. Hartman, and Vera V. Lozovaya

First, second, third, fourth, fifth, and seventh authors: Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois, 1201 W. Gregory Drive, Urbana 61801; and sixth author: United States Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service, University of Illinois, 1101 W. Peabody Drive, Urbana 61801.

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Accepted for publication 16 April 2013.

The response of soybean transgenic plants, with suppressed synthesis of isoflavones, and nontransgenic plants to two common soybean pathogens, Macrophomina phaseolina and Phytophthora sojae, was studied. Transgenic soybean plants of one line used in this study were previously generated via bombardment of embryogenic cultures with the phenylalanine ammonia lyase, chalcone synthase, and isoflavone synthase (IFS2) genes in sense orientation driven by the cotyledon-preferable lectin promoter (to turn genes on in cotyledons), while plants of another line were newly produced using the IFS2 gene in sense orientation driven by the Cassava vein mosaic virus constitutive promoter (to turn genes on in all plant parts). Nearly complete inhibition of isoflavone synthesis was found in the cotyledons of young seedlings of transgenic plants transformed with the IFS2 transgene driven by the cotyledon-preferable lectin promoter compared with the untransformed control during the 10-day observation period, with the precursors of isoflavone synthesis being accumulated in the cotyledons of transgenic plants. These results indicated that the lectin promoter could be active not only during seed development but also during seed germination. Downregulation of isoflavone synthesis only in the seed or in the whole soybean plant caused a strong inhibition of the pathogen-inducible glyceollin in cotyledons after inoculation with P. sojae, which resulted in increased susceptibility of the cotyledons of both transgenic lines to this pathogen compared with inoculated cotyledons of untransformed plants. When stems were inoculated with M. phaseolina, suppression of glyceollin synthesis was found only in stems of transgenic plants expressing the transgene driven by a constitutive promoter, which developed more severe infection. These results provide further evidence that rapid glyceollin accumulation during infection contributes to the innate soybean defense response.

Additional keywords: disease resistance, Glycine max, lignin.

© 2013 The American Phytopathological Society