Expression of tobacco class II catalase gene activates the endogenous homologous gene and is associated with disease resistance in transgenic potato plants

Diqiu Yu, Zhixin Xie, Chunhong Chen, Baofang Fan, Zhixiang Chen

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28 Scopus citations


We have previously shown that healthy potato plants respond poorly to salicylic acid (SA) for activating disease resistance against the late blight fungal pathogen Phytophthora infestans. However, SA is essential for the establishment of potato systemic acquired resistance (SAR) against P. infestans after treatment with the fungal elicitor arachidonic acid (AA). To understand the molecular mechanisms through which AA induces SA-dependent SAR in potato, we have recently studied the expression of potato class II catalase (Cat2St) in comparison with its tobacco homologue, Cat2Nt, which has previously been shown to bind SA. In the present study, we show that tobacco Cat2Nt is expressed at high levels and accounts for almost half of total SA-binding activity detected in tobacco leaves. In contrast, potato Cat2St is not expressed in healthy leaves, which is associated with the low SA responsiveness of potato plants for activation of disease resistance mechanisms. Upon treatment with AA, expression of potato Cat2St is induced not only in AA-treated leaves, but also in the upper untreated parts of the plants, concomitant with the establishment of SA-dependent SAR to P. infestans. Moreover, expression of the tobacco Cat2Nt gene in transgenic potato plants leads to constitutive expression of the endogenous potato Cat2St gene and is associated with enhanced resistance to P. infestans. These results collectively indicate that plant SA-binding class II catalases may play an important role in the development of disease resistance, possibly by serving as biological targets of SA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-488
Number of pages12
JournalPlant molecular biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 1999



  • Arachidonic acid
  • Catalase
  • Late blight
  • Potato
  • Salicylic acid
  • Systemic acquired resistance

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