, Volume 87, Issue 8, pp 988-995

Modification of competence for in vitro response to Fusarium oxysporum in tomato cells. I. Selection from a susceptible cultivar for high and low polysaccharide content

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Plant cell walls play a major role in the outcome of host-parasite interactions. Wall fragments released from the plant, and/or the fungal pathogen, can act respectively as endogenous and exogenous elicitors of the defence response, and other wall components, such as callose, lignin, or hydroxyproline-rich glycoproteins, can inhibit pathogen penetration and/or spreading. We have previously demonstrated that calli from tomato cultivars resistant in vivo to Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. lycopersici show a high amount of polysaccharides in vitro. The aim of the present work was to assess the possible role of polysaccharide content and/or synthetic capacity in determining the competence of plant cells for active defence. For this purpose, tomato cell clones with increased and decreased polysaccharide (FL+, FL-) and callose (A+, A-) content have been selected by means of specific stains as visual markers and tested for the effect of these changes on the extent of response to Fusarium. The analysis of several parameters known to be indicative of active defence (cell browning after elicitor treatment, peroxidase and β-glucanase induction and inhibition of fungal growth in dual culture) clearly shows that FL+ and A+ clones have acquired an increased competence for the activation of defence response. The results are thoroughly discussed in terms of an evaluation of the relative importance of constitutive and/or inducible polysaccharide synthetic capacity for plant response to pathogens, and their possible regulation by plant physiological backgrounds.

Communicated by G. Wenzel