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Elicitin genes expressed in vitro by certain tobacco isolates of Phytophthora parasitica are down regulated during compatible interactions

Colas, V., Conrod, S., Venard, P., Keller, H., Ricci, P., Panabieres, F.
Molecular plant-microbe interactions 2001 v.14 no.3 pp. 326-335
Nicotiana tabacum, Phytophthora nicotianae var. parasitica, gene expression, proteins, infection, defense mechanisms, virulence, multigene family, pathogenicity, Solanum lycopersicum var. lycopersicum, host range, nucleotide sequences, fungal diseases of plants, genotype, hypersensitive response
Phytophthora spp. secrete proteins called elicitins in vitro that can specifically induce hypersensitive response and systemic acquired resistance in tobacco. In Phytophthora parasitica, the causal agent of black shank, most isolates virulent on tobacco are unable to produce elicitins in vitro. Recently, however, a few elicitin-producing P. parasitica strains virulent on tobacco have been isolated. We investigated the potential diversity of elicitin genes in P. parasitica isolates belonging to different genotypes and with various virulence levels toward tobacco as well as elicitin expression pattern in vitro and in planta. Although elicitins are encoded by a multigene family, parA1 is the main elicitin gene expressed. This gene is highly conserved among isolates, regardless of the elicitin production and virulence levels toward tobacco. Moreover, we show that elicitin-producing P. parasitica isolates virulent on tobacco down regulate parA1 expression during compatible interactions, whichever host plant is tested. Conversely, one elicitin-producing P. parasitica isolate that is pathogenic on tomato and avirulent on tobacco still expresses parA1 in the compatible interaction. Therefore, some P. parasitica isolates may evade tobacco recognition by down regulating parA1 in planta. The in planta down regulation of parA1 may constitute a suitable mechanism for P. parasitica to infect tobacco without deleterious consequences for the pathogen.