, Volume 65, Issue 1-2, pp 177-187
Date: 17 Jul 2007

Elicitor induced activation of the methylerythritol phosphate pathway toward phytoalexins biosynthesis in rice

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Abstract

Diterpenoid phytoalexins such as momilactones and phytocassanes are produced via geranylgeranyl diphosphate in suspension-cultured rice cells after treatment with a chitin elicitor. We have previously shown that the production of diterpene hydrocarbons leading to phytoalexins and the expression of related biosynthetic genes are activated in suspension-cultured rice cells upon elicitor treatment. To better understand the elicitor-induced activation of phytoalexin biosynthesis, we conducted microarray analysis using suspension-cultured rice cells collected at various times after treatment with chitin elicitor. Hierarchical cluster analysis revealed two types of early-induced expression (EIE-1, EIE-2) nodes and a late-induced expression (LIE) node that includes genes involved in phytoalexins biosynthesis. The LIE node contains genes that may be responsible for the methylerythritol phosphate (MEP) pathway, a plastidic biosynthetic pathway for isopentenyl diphosphate, an early precursor of phytoalexins. The elicitor-induced expression of these putative MEP pathway genes was confirmed by quantitative reverse-transcription PCR. 1-Deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate synthase (DXS), 1-deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate reductoisomerase (DXR), and 4-(cytidine 5′-diphospho)-2-C-methyl-d-erythritol synthase (CMS), which catalyze the first three committed steps in the MEP pathway, were further shown to have enzymatic activities that complement the growth of E. coli mutants disrupted in the corresponding genes. Application of ketoclomazone and fosmidomycin, inhibitors of DXS and DXR, respectively, repressed the accumulation of diterpene-type phytoalexins in suspension cells treated with chitin elicitor. These results suggest that activation of the MEP pathway is required to supply sufficient terpenoid precursors for the production of phytoalexins in infected rice plants.