Publication details

Ergosterol is a signal molecule that leads to the expression of defence-related genes in tobacco



Year of publication 2006
Type Conference abstract
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Description Ergosterol is a principal compound of the fungal plasma membrane, which has never been found in plants. Previous studies have proved that ergosterol is able to trigger a defence reaction even in nano-molar concentration in tobacco and tomato cells. The reaction was characterized by production of active oxygen species (AOS), alkalinization of medium, changes in ion fluxes and production of phytoalexins (1,2) Some steps of the signalling cascade were also elucidated when the important role of phospholipase A2 together with protein kinase C and calcium were demonstrated (2,3). In this paper, the expression of some defence-related genes after the ergosterol treatment of tobacco Nicotiana tabacum plants is reported. The production of caposidiol was followed by HPLC. The gene expression of pathogenesis related proteins of families PR1, PR3, PR5 and proteinase inhibitors of class I and II together with enzymes participating in the defence response, such as phenylalanine ammonia lyase and sesquiterpene cyclase, were monitored by RT-qPCR. In addition, the concentrations of salicylic acid, an important signalling molecule, increased in time due to the enzyme activation. On the other hand, ergosterol did not provoke tissue necrosis and the possible cross-talk between the signalling pathways of salicylate and jasmonate was observed. Collected data shows that ergosterol is able to activate the expression of a number of defence genes, stimulate the synthesis of phytoalexins and could increase resistance against pathogens.
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