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Ascorbic Acid Deficiency Activates Cell Death And Disease Resistance Responses In Arabidopsis1

Valeria R Pavet, E. Olmos, G. Kiddle, S. Mowla, S. Kumar, J. Antoniw, M. E. Alvarez, C. Foyer
Published 2005 · Biology, Medicine

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Programmed cell death, developmental senescence, and responses to pathogens are linked through complex genetic controls that are influenced by redox regulation. Here we show that the Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) low vitamin C mutants, vtc1 and vtc2, which have between 10% and 25% of wild-type ascorbic acid, exhibit microlesions, express pathogenesis-related (PR) proteins, and have enhanced basal resistance against infections caused by Pseudomonas syringae. The mutants have a delayed senescence phenotype with smaller leaf cells than the wild type at maturity. The vtc leaves have more glutathione than the wild type, with higher ratios of reduced glutathione to glutathione disulfide. Expression of green fluorescence protein (GFP) fused to the nonexpressor of PR protein 1 (GFP-NPR1) was used to detect the presence of NPR1 in the nuclei of transformed plants. Fluorescence was observed in the nuclei of 6- to 8-week-old GFP-NPR1 vtc1 plants, but not in the nuclei of transformed GFP-NPR1 wild-type plants at any developmental stage. The absence of senescence-associated gene 12 (SAG12) mRNA at the time when constitutive cell death and basal resistance were detected confirms that elaboration of innate immune responses in vtc plants does not result from activation of early senescence. Moreover, H2O2-sensitive genes are not induced at the time of systemic acquired resistance execution. These results demonstrate that ascorbic acid abundance modifies the threshold for activation of plant innate defense responses via redox mechanisms that are independent of the natural senescence program.
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