Oligosaccharide Signalling for Proteinase Inhibitor Genes in Plant Leaves

  • Clarence A. Ryan
Part of the Recent Advances in Phytochemistry book series (RAPT, volume 22)


Plants have evolved a variety of strategies to defend themselves against the multitude of pests and predators that can infect or ingest them.1 The various defenses that plants employ, often found in combinations, range from physical barriers, such as the cuticle,2 to a host of toxic or antinutritional chemicals that can be either constitutively synthesized to effective levels or can be induced to accumulate in response to attacking pests.3 The diversity and complexity of induced plant defensive systems has made it difficult to obtain clear evidence that specific chemicals are responsible for defending the plants against specific intruders. It is only within the past few years that such evidence has begun to emerge, and only a few constitutive or inducible defensive systems have been extensively studied at the biochemical or molecular biological levels. Evidence from studies of inducible plant defenses now strongly implicates a possible role for oligosaccharide fragments derived from fungal and plant cell walls in signalling localized and systemic defensive responses.4,5,6 Beginning with experiments in the laboratory of Albersheim in the mid-1970s, in which β-glucan components of fungal cell walls were shown to be powerful elicitors of phytoalexin antibiotic synthesis in soybean cotyledons,7 a concept has emerged from studies in several laboratories that oligosaccharide fragments from fungi and plant cell walls, as well as from insect cuticles, can induce defensive systems of plants when released from sites of pest attacks.


Plant Cell Wall Castor Bean Tomato Leave Chloramphenicol Acetyl Transferase Cell Wall Fragment 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clarence A. Ryan
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Biological ChemistryWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA

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