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Temporally distinct accumulation of transcripts encoding enzymes of the prechorismate pathway in elicitor-treated, cultured tomato cells.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
The accumulation of phenylalanine-derived phenolic compounds is a well-known element of a plant's defense in response to pathogen attack. Phenylalanine, as well as the other two aromatic amino acids, tyrosine and tryptophan, is synthesized by way of the shikimate pathway. The first seven steps of the shikimate pathway (the prechorismate pathway) are common for the biosynthesis of all three aromatic amino acids. We have studied transcript levels of six genes--i.e., two 3-deoxy-D-arabino-heptulosonate 7-phosphate synthase genes, one shikimate kinase gene, one 5-enolpyruvylshikimate 3-phosphate synthase gene, and two chorismate synthase genes--corresponding to four steps of the prechorismate pathway, in cultured tomato cells exposed to fungal elicitors. The abundance of transcripts specific for some of these genes increased 10- to 20-fold within 6 h after elicitor treatment, as did the abundance of phenylalanine ammonialyase-specific transcripts and the synthesis of ethylene. Interestingly, transcript accumulation occurred more rapidly for shikimate kinase than for the enzymes preceding or following it in the prechorismate pathway. Neither the inhibition of ethylene biosynthesis by aminoethoxyvinylglycine nor inhibition of phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (EC 18.104.22.168) activity by 2-aminoindan-2-phosphonic acid affected the time course or extent of transcript accumulation. Thus, the increased demand for phenylalanine in the phenylpropanoid pathway required after elicitor treatment appears to be met by increased de novo synthesis of its biosynthetic enzymes.
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