Endogenous salicylic acid protects rice plants from oxidative damage caused by aging as well as biotic and abiotic stress

Yinong Yang, Min Qi, Chuansheng Mei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

332 Scopus citations


Salicylic acid (SA) is a key endogenous signal that mediates defense gene expression and disease resistance in many dicotyledonous species. In contrast to tobacco and Arabidopsis, which contain low basal levels of SA, rice has two orders of magnitude higher levels of SA and appears to be insensitive to exogenous SA treatment. To determine the role of SA in rice plants, we have generated SA-deficient transgenic rice by expressing the bacterial salicylate hydroxylase that degrades SA. Depletion of high levels of endogenous SA in transgenic rice does not measurably affect defense gene expression, but reduces the plant's capacity to detoxify reactive oxygen intermediates (ROI). SA-deficient transgenic rice contains elevated levels of superoxide and H 2O2, and exhibits spontaneous lesion formation in an age- and light-dependent manner. Exogenous application of SA analog benzothiadiazole complements SA deficiency and suppresses ROI levels and lesion formation. Although an increase of conjugated catechol was detected in SA-deficient rice, catechol does not appear to significantly affect ROI levels based on the endogenous catechol data and exogenous catechol treatment. When infected with the blast fungus (Magnaporthe grisea), SA-deficient rice exhibits increased susceptibility to oxidative bursts elicited by avirulent isolates. Furthermore, SA-deficient rice is hyperresponsive to oxidative damage caused by paraquat treatment. Taken together, our results strongly suggest that SA plays an important role to modulate redox balance and protect rice plants from oxidative stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)909-919
Number of pages11
JournalPlant Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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