, Volume 218, Issue 5, pp 767-774
Date: 14 Nov 2003

Oligogalacturonide signal transduction, induction of defense-related responses and protection of grapevine against Botrytis cinerea

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Grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) is vulnerable to a variety of pathogenic fungi, among them Botrytis cinerea, the causal agent of grey mould, is responsible for worldwide yield losses that would be even more important without a successful control that relies mainly on fungicides. In the present work we investigated an alternative way of using oligogalacturonides (OGA) to induce defense responses in grapevine and protection against B. cinerea. Kinetic experiments with grapevine cells showed that OGA induced a rapid and transient generation of H2O2, followed by differential expression of nine defense-related genes and stimulation of chitinase and β-1,3-glucanase activities. Inhibition of OGA-induced oxidative burst by diphenylene iodonium (DPI), an inhibitor of NADPH oxidase, lowered induction levels of six genes and chitinase activity. Interestingly, the induction of three other genes and β-1,3-glucanase activity were inhibited by K252a, a protein kinase inhibitor, but not by DPI. Treatment of grapevine leaves with OGA also reduced infection by B. cinerea by about 55–65%. Accordingly, DPI or K252a with or without OGA increased the susceptibility of grapevine leaves to B. cinerea. We suggest that treatment of grapevine with OGA elicits different signalling pathways, which might act in tandem with the oxidative burst to increase grapevine defense responses required for protection against B. cinerea.