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Morphological and biochemical characterization of Erwinia amylovora-induced hypersensitive cell death in apple leaves

Iakimova, Elena T., Sobiczewski, Piotr, Michalczuk, Lech, Węgrzynowicz-Lesiak, Elżbieta, Mikiciński, Artur, Woltering, Ernst J.
Plant physiology and biochemistry 2013 v.63 pp. 292-305
Erwinia amylovora, apoptosis, apples, cell walls, cultivars, ethylene, ethylene inhibitors, ethylene production, gene expression, genotype, hypersensitive response, leaves, proteinases, reactive oxygen species, shrinkage, signal transduction, tobacco
In attached apple leaves, spot-inoculated with Erwinia amylovora, the phenotypic appearance of the hypersensitive response (HR) and the participation of ethylene, reactive oxygen species (ROS) and of vacuolar processing enzyme (VPE) (a plant caspase-1-like protease) were analysed. The HR in both the resistant and susceptible genotypes expressed a similar pattern of distinguishable micro HR lesions that progressed into confined macro HR lesions. The HR symptoms in apple were compared to those in non-host tobacco. The morphology of dead cells (protoplast shrinkage and retraction from cell wall) in apple leaves resembled necrotic programmed cell death (PCD). Lesion formation in both cv. Free Redstar (resistant) and cv. Idared (highly susceptible) was preceded by ROS accumulation and elevation of ethylene levels. Treatment of infected leaves with an inhibitor of ethylene synthesis led to a decrease of ethylene emission and suppression of lesion development in both cultivars. In the resistant but not in the susceptible apple cultivar an early and late increase in VPE gene expression was detected. This suggests that VPE might be an underlying component of the response to E. amylovora in resistant apple cultivars. The findings show that in the studied pathosystem the cell death during the HR proceeds through a signal transduction cascade in which ROS, ethylene and VPE pathways play a role.