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PLANT CELL 12 (11): 2191-2200

Copyright © 2000 by the American Society of Plant Physiologists.

Plant Cell, Vol. 12, 2191-2200, November 2000, Copyright © 2000, American Society of Plant Physiologists Oxalic Acid, a Pathogenicity Factor for Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, Suppresses the Oxidative Burst of the Host Plant Stephen G. Cessnaa, Valerie E. Searsa, Martin B. Dickmanb, and Philip S. Lowa a Department of Chemistry, Purdue University, 1393 Brown Building, West Lafayette, Indiana 47904-1393 b Department of Plant Pathology, University of Nebraska, 406G Plant Science Hall, Lincoln, Nebraska 68583-0722 Philip S. Low, plow{at}purdue.edu (E-mail), 765-494-0239 (fax)

Effective pathogenesis by the fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum requires the secretion of oxalic acid. Studies were conducted to determine whether oxalate aids pathogen compatibility by modulating the oxidative burst of the host plant. Inoculation of tobacco leaves with an oxalate-deficient nonpathogenic mutant of S. sclerotiorum induced measurable oxidant biosynthesis, but inoculation with an oxalate-secreting strain did not. Oxalate inhibited production of H2O2 in tobacco and soybean cultured cell lines with a median inhibitory concentration of ~4 to 5 mM, a concentration less than that measured in preparations of the virulent fungus. Several observations also indicate that the inhibitory effects of oxalate are largely independent of both its acidity and its affinity for Ca2+. These and other data demonstrate that oxalate may inhibit a signaling step positioned upstream of oxidase assembly/activation but downstream of Ca2+ fluxes into the plant cell cytosol.

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