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Aphid infestation affects subcellular glutathione and cysteine contents in Beta vulgaris

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Glutathione is an important antioxidant that plays key roles in plants through the activation of defense genes and redox buffering of the cells, by sensing reactive oxygen species (ROS) and by participating in ROS-signaling pathways that control the fate of plants. In the present study we investigated intracellular differences in contents of glutathione and of one of its precursors, cysteine, in leaves of sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.) in response to black bean aphid (Aphis fabae) infestation, within mesophyll cells as close as possible to the stylet penetration site (< 0.05 mm) and within cells further away from the stylet penetration site (> 1 cm). When compared to cells from uninfested plants glutathione content was much higher in all cell compartments (by up to 156% in nuclei) at the stylet penetration site. Glutathione content was also higher (by up to 66% in nuclei) in cells further away from the stylet penetration site, where the induction of oxidative stress by the penetration and feeding process seems to be unlikely. These results indicate that glutathione could be involved both in the direct protection against oxidative stress possibly induced by the penetration of the stylet through the tissue or by the injection of saliva, and in signaling processes that might be related to the activation of defense genes. Cysteine, the rate-limiting factor for glutathione synthesis, was higher in most cell compartments close to the stylet penetration site (by up to 37% in nuclei) and much lower in cells further away from the stylet penetration site (by up to 54% in nuclei) indicating possible important roles of cysteine for glutathione synthesis at the stylet penetration site. Possible implications of our results in relation to glutathione synthesis are discussed.


Document Type: Regular Paper

Publication date: 2009-09-01

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  • The Belgian Journal of Botany (now known as Plant Ecology and Evolution) is an international journal open to all fields of plant sciences. Please note, however, that papers restricted to purely nomenclatural matters or to floristical data of only local interest will not be accepted. The Journal appears in one volume of two issues per year. It publishes reviews, original research papers, short notes, letters to the editor, and book reviews. Click here for current issues of this journal
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