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Plant Science

Gad Galili - Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel

Botrytis cinerea is a major plant pathogen, causing losses in crops during growth and storage. Here we show that increased accumulation of phenylalanine (Phe) and Phe-derived metabolites in plant leaves significantly reduces their susceptibility to B. cinerea. Arabidopsis, petunia and tomato plants were enriched with Phe by either overexpressing a feedback-insensitive E.coli DAHP synthase (AroG*), or by spraying or drenching detached leaves or whole plants with external Phe, prior to infection with B. cinerea. Metabolic analysis of Arabidopsis and petunia plants overexpressing AroG* as well as wt petunia plants treated externally with Phe, revealed an increase in Phe-derived phenylpropanoids accumulated in their leaves, and specifically in those inhibiting B. cinerea germination and growth, suggesting that different compounds reduce susceptibility to B. cinerea in different plants. Phe itself had no inhibitory effect on germination or growth of B. cinerea, and inhibition of Phe metabolism in petunia plants treated with external Phe prevented decreased susceptibility to the fungus. Thus, Phe metabolism into an array of metabolites, unique to each plant and plant organ, is the most probable cause for increased resistance to Botrytis. This mechanism may provide a basis for ecologically friendly control of a wide range of plant pathogens. © 2019 Elsevier B.V.

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Increased phenylalanine levels in plant leaves reduces susceptibility to Botrytis cinerea
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Gad Galili - Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel

Increased phenylalanine levels in plant leaves reduces susceptibility to Botrytis cinerea

Botrytis cinerea is a major plant pathogen, causing losses in crops during growth and storage. Here we show that increased accumulation of phenylalanine (Phe) and Phe-derived metabolites in plant leaves significantly reduces their susceptibility to B. cinerea. Arabidopsis, petunia and tomato plants were enriched with Phe by either overexpressing a feedback-insensitive E.coli DAHP synthase (AroG*), or by spraying or drenching detached leaves or whole plants with external Phe, prior to infection with B. cinerea. Metabolic analysis of Arabidopsis and petunia plants overexpressing AroG* as well as wt petunia plants treated externally with Phe, revealed an increase in Phe-derived phenylpropanoids accumulated in their leaves, and specifically in those inhibiting B. cinerea germination and growth, suggesting that different compounds reduce susceptibility to B. cinerea in different plants. Phe itself had no inhibitory effect on germination or growth of B. cinerea, and inhibition of Phe metabolism in petunia plants treated with external Phe prevented decreased susceptibility to the fungus. Thus, Phe metabolism into an array of metabolites, unique to each plant and plant organ, is the most probable cause for increased resistance to Botrytis. This mechanism may provide a basis for ecologically friendly control of a wide range of plant pathogens. © 2019 Elsevier B.V.

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