Role of lignification in plant defense

Plant Signal Behav. 2009 Feb;4(2):158-9. doi: 10.4161/psb.4.2.7688.


For a long time it has been believed that lignification has an important role in host defense against pathogen invasion. Recently, by using an RNAi gene-silencing assay we showed that monolignol biosynthesis plays a critical role in cell wall apposition (CWA)-mediated defense against powdery mildew fungus penetration into diploid wheat. Silencing monolignol genes led to super-susceptibility of wheat leaf tissues to an appropriate pathogen, Blumeria graminis f. sp. tritici (Bgt), and compromised penetration resistance to a non-appropriate pathogen, B. graminis f. sp. hordei. Autofluorescence of CWA regions was reduced significantly at the fungal penetration sites in silenced cells. Our work indicates an important role for monolignol biosynthetic genes in effective CWA formation against pathogen penetration. In this addendum, we show that silencing of monolignol genes also compromised penetration resistant to Bgt in a resistant wheat line. In addition, we discuss possible insights into how lignin biosynthesis contributes to host defense.

Keywords: cereal; defense lignin; methylated lignin; monolignol; papilla autofluorescence.

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