In vivo imaging of an elicitor-induced nitric oxide burst in tobacco

Plant J. 2000 Sep;23(6):817-24. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.2000.00835.x.


A growing body of evidence suggests that nitric oxide (NO), an important signalling and defence molecule in mammals, plays a key role in activating disease resistance in plants, acting as signalling molecule and possibly as direct anti-microbial agent. Recently, a novel fluorophore (diaminofluorescein diacetate, DAF-2 DA) has been developed which allows bio-imaging of NO in vivo. Here we use the cell-permeable DAF-2 DA, in conjunction with confocal laser scanning microscopy, for real-time imaging of NO in living plant cells. Epidermal tobacco cells treated with cryptogein, a fungal elicitor from Phytophthora cryptogea, respond to the elicitor with a strong increase of intracellular NO. NO-induced fluorescence was found in several cellular compartments, and could be inhibited by a NO scavenger and an inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase. The NO burst was triggered within minutes, reminiscent of the oxidative burst during hypersensitive response reactions. These results reveal additional similarities between plant and animal host responses to infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algal Proteins*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Fungal Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Nitric Oxide / biosynthesis
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism*
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Plants, Toxic*
  • Tobacco / cytology
  • Tobacco / metabolism*


  • Algal Proteins
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Fungal Proteins
  • cryptogein protein, Phytophthora cryptogea
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase