Signals for local and systemic responses of plants to pathogen attack
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Activation of plant defences following recognition of pathogen attack involves complex reiterative signal networks with extensive signal amplification and cross-talk. The results of two approaches that have been taken to analyse signalling in plant-microbe interactions are discussed here. Activation tagging with T-DNA harbouring multiple 35S enhancer elements was employed as a gain-of-function approach to dissect signalling related to bacterial pathogen resistance in Arabidopsis thaliana. From a screen of approximately 5000 activation tagged lines, one line was identified as harbouring a T-DNA leading to over-expression of an apoplastic aspartic protease (CDR-1), that resulted in resistance to normally virulent Pseudomonas syringae. The second approach was to screen for loss-of-function mutants in T-DNA tagged populations. From a screen of 11 000 lines, one line, defective in induced resistance-1 (dir-1) lost resistance to normally avirulent P. syringae. Models for action of the products of the CDR-1 and DIR-1 genes suggest involvement of peptide and lipid signals in systemic disease resistance responses in A. thaliana.
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