Extracellular pyridine nucleotides induce PR gene expression and disease resistance in Arabidopsis

Plant J. 2009 Jan;57(2):302-12. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2008.03687.x. Epub 2008 Oct 14.


Although it is well known that the pyridine nucleotides NAD and NADP function inside the cell to regulate intracellular signaling processes, recent evidence from animal studies suggests that NAD(P) also functions in the extracellular compartment (ECC). Extracellular NAD(P) [eNAD(P)] can either directly bind to plasma membrane receptors or be metabolized by ecto-enzymes to produce cyclic ADP-ribose and nicotinic acid adenine dinucleotide phosphate, and/or may ADP-ribosylate cell-surface receptors, resulting in activation of transmembrane signaling. In this study, we report that, in plants, exogenous NAD(P) induces the expression of pathogenesis-related (PR) genes and resistance to the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. maculicola ES4326. Chelation of Ca(2+) by EGTA significantly inhibits the induction of PR genes by exogenous NAD(P), suggesting that exogenous NAD(P) may induce PR genes through a pathway that involves Ca(2+) signaling. We show that exogenous application of NAD(P) causes accumulation of the defense signal molecule salicylic acid (SA), and induces both SA/NPR1-dependent and -independent PR gene expression and disease resistance. Furthermore, we demonstrate that NAD(P) leaks into the plant ECC after mechanical wounding and pathogen infection, and that the amount of NAD(P) leaking into the ECC after P. syringae pv. tobacco DC3000/avrRpt2 infection is sufficient for induction of both PR gene expression and disease resistance. We propose that NAD(P) leakage from cells losing membrane integrity upon environmental stress may function as an elicitor to activate plant defense responses. Our data provide evidence that eNAD(P) functions in plant signaling, and illustrate the potential importance of eNAD(P) in plant innate immunity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / immunology
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Extracellular Space / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Immunity, Innate
  • NADP / metabolism*
  • Plant Diseases / genetics
  • Plant Diseases / immunology
  • Pseudomonas syringae / pathogenicity
  • Salicylic Acid / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • NPR1 protein, Arabidopsis
  • NADP
  • Salicylic Acid
  • Calcium