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Phytic acid and plant defence responses

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Inositol hexakisphosphate (InsP6) has been suggested as a signalling compound in basal defence responses against pathogen invasion (Murphy et al. 2008). Mutant Arabidopsis plants with reduced expression of Atips2 (inositol phosphate synthase 2), but not atips1 mutants, were previously shown to have enhanced susceptibility to a range of pathogens, including two RNA viruses (cucumber mosaic virus and turnip mosaic virus), a DNA virus (cauliflower mosaic virus), a bacterium (Pseudomonas syringae), and a necrotrophic fungus (Botrytis cinerea). I am manipulating biochemical pathways leading to InsP6 production to further understand the role(s) of inositol polyphosphates in plant defence. To test whether elevating InsP6 content enhances resistance to pathogens, I am decreasing the expression of myo-inositol oxygenase (MIOX), which is encoded by a small family of four Miox genes in Arabidopsis. Biosynthesis of InsP6 relies primarily on the bioavailability of its precursors, myo-inositol and inorganic phosphate, the former of which is restricted by MIOX . MIOX converts inositol to glucuronic acid, directing biosynthesis towards polysaccharide production. Arabidopsis plants with reduced MIOX expression were previously shown to have increased InsP6 levels. I will then test atmiox mutants (single or multiple null allele) for effects on pathogen susceptibility and for effects on signalling mediated by jasmonic acid and salicylic acid, phytohormones with key roles in defence.

This talk is part of the Plant Sciences Research Seminars series.

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