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Systemic effects on leaf glutathione metabolism and defence protein expression caused by esca infection in grapevines

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Christine Foyer


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Esca is a devastating disease of Vitis vinifera L., caused by fungal pathogen(s) inhabiting the wood. The pathogens induce symptoms in the foliage, which are associated with structural and biochemical changes in leaves. The present study was undertaken to examine the effects of the disease on leaf glutathione metabolism in field-grown plants. The glutathione pool decreased and defence proteins such as PR-proteins and chitinases were expressed in the leaves before the appearance of visible symptoms in esca-infected canes. Glutathione depletion was increased as the disease developed in the leaves. The ratio of glutathione disulfide (GSSG) to the total glutathione pool was slightly decreased in leaves without visible symptoms, but it was significantly increased as the disease progressed. The abundance of γ-glutamylcysteine synthetase (γ-ECS) transcripts and of γ-ECS protein was greatly decreased in leaves exhibiting esca symptoms. Although glutathione reductase and glutathione peroxidase transcripts were largely unchanged by the spread of the esca disease, leaf glutathione S-transferase (GST) activities, the amounts of mRNAs encoding GSTU1 and GSTF2 and the abundance of the GSTU1 and GSTF2 proteins were highest at the early stages of infection and then decreased as visible symptoms appeared in the leaves. The GSTF2 protein, which was more abundant than GSTU1, was found in the nucleus and in the cytoplasm, whereas the GSTU1 protein was found largely in the plastids. These data demonstrate that the fungi involved in the esca disease induce pronounced systemic effects in the leaves before the appearance of visible damage. We conclude that the expression of GSTs, the extent of glutathione accumulation and the ratio of GSSG to total glutathione are early indicators of the presence of the esca disease in grapevine canes and thus these parameters can be used as stress markers in field-grown vines. © CSIRO 2009.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Valtaud C, Foyer CH, Fleurat-Lessard P, Bourbouloux A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Functional Plant Biology

Year: 2009

Volume: 36

Issue: 3

Pages: 260-279

ISSN (print): 1445-4408

ISSN (electronic): 1445-4416

Publisher: CSIRO Publishing


DOI: 10.1071/FP08293


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