Reducing phenylpropanoid biosynthesis in transgenic tobacco compromises systemic acquired resistance (SAR) to tobacco mosaic virus, while increasing phenylpropanoid biosynthesis enhances SAR. Surprisingly, transgenic tobacco plants compromised in SAR exhibit more effective grazing-induced systemic resistance to larvae of Heliothis virescens, whereas induced insect resistance is compromised in transgenic plants with elevated phenylpropanoid levels. Levels of the phenylpropanoid-derived signal salicylic acid are directly correlated with overall phenylpropanoid biosynthesis in this series of transgenic plants. Moreover, while pathogen-induced SAR is almost completely compromised in salicylic acid-deficient plants expressing the bacterial nahG salicylate hydroxylase gene, these plants show enhanced grazing-induced insect resistance compared to wild-type. Hence, suppression of grazing-induced insect resistance is mediated at least in part by salicylic acid and likely reflects salicylic acid inhibition of the synthesis and action of the wound signal jasmonic acid. We propose that the dual functions of salicylic acid contribute to a signal poise which constrains constitutive expression of disease and insect resistance mechanisms, and reciprocally switches their selective activation.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Novartis Foundation Symposium|
|State||Published - Dec 1 1999|
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