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Plant Physiology 129 (4): 1858-1865

Copyright © 2002 by the American Society of Plant Physiologists.

Plant Physiol, August 2002, Vol. 129, pp. 1858-1865

Mitochondrial Alternative Oxidase Is Not a Critical Component of Plant Viral Resistance But May Play a Role in the Hypersensitive Response1

Sandi H. Ordog, Verna J. Higgins, and Greg C. Vanlerberghe*

Division of Life Sciences and Department of Botany, University of Toronto at Scarborough, Scarborough, Ontario, Canada M1C 1A4 (S.H.O., G.C.V.); and Department of Botany, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 3B2 (V.J.H.)

Transgenic tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) with altered levels of mitochondrial alternative oxidase (AOX) were used to examine the potential role of this electron transport chain protein in resistance to tobacco mosaic virus. We examined the effect of AOX expression on the salicylic acid-induced resistance in susceptible plants and the resistance responses of plants harboring the N-gene. A lack of AOX did not compromise the ability of salicylic acid treatment to heighten the resistance of susceptible plants. In plants with the N-gene, a lack of AOX did not compromise the ability of the hypersensitive response to restrict the virus or the ability of the plant to develop systemic acquired resistance. Overexpression of AOX did not heighten the resistance of susceptible plants, but did result in smaller hypersensitive response lesions, suggesting a link between mitochondrial function and this programmed cell death event. We conclude that AOX is not a critical component of the previously characterized salicylhydroxamic acid-sensitive pathway important in viral resistance.

1 This work was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, by the Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund, and by a Premiers Research Excellence Award of Ontario (all funds to G.C.V.).

* Corresponding author; e-mail gregv{at}; fax 416-287-7642.

© 2002 American Society of Plant Physiologists

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