Formation of biphenyl and dibenzofuran phytoalexins in the transition zones of fire blight-infected stems of Malus domestica cv. 'Holsteiner Cox' and Pyrus communis cv. 'Conference'

Cornelia Chizzali, Mohammed N.A. Khalil, Till Beuerle, Wolfgang Schuehly, Klaus Richter, Henryk Flachowsky, Andreas Peil, Magda Viola Hanke, Benye Liu, Ludger Beerhues

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Abstract

In the rosaceous subtribe Pyrinae (formerly subfamily Maloideae), pathogen attack leads to formation of biphenyls and dibenzofurans. Accumulation of these phytoalexins was studied in greenhouse-grown grafted shoots of Malus domestica cv. 'Holsteiner Cox' and Pyrus communis cv. 'Conference' after inoculation with the fire blight bacterium, Erwinia amylovora. No phytoalexins were found in leaves. However, both classes of defence compounds were detected in the transition zone of stems. The flanking stem segments above and below this zone, which were necrotic and healthy, respectively, were devoid of detectable phytoalexins. The transition zone of apple stems contained the biphenyls 3-hydroxy-5-methoxyaucuparin, aucuparin, noraucuparin and 2′- hydroxyaucuparin and the dibenzofurans eriobofuran and noreriobofuran. In pear, aucuparin, 2′-hydroxyaucuparin, noreriobofuran and in addition 3,4,5-trimethoxybiphenyl were detected. The total phytoalexin content in the transition zone of pear was 25 times lower than that in apple. Leaves and stems of mock-inoculated apple and pear shoots lacked phytoalexins. A number of biphenyls and dibenzofurans were tested for their in vitro antibacterial activity against some Erwinia amylovora strains. The most efficient compound was 3,5-dihydroxybiphenyl (MIC = 115 μg/ml), the immediate product of biphenyl synthase which initiates phytoalexin biosynthesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-185
Number of pages7
JournalPhytochemistry
Volume77
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Antibacterial activity
  • Biphenyls
  • Dibenzofurans
  • Erwinia amylovora
  • Fire blight
  • Malus domestica
  • Phytoalexins
  • Pyrus communis

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