Genotype-dependent expression of specific members of potato protease inhibitor gene families in different tissues and in response to wounding and nematode infection

David Turrà, Diana Bellin, Matteo Lorito, Christiane Gebhardt
Journal of Plant Physiology 2009 May 1, 166 (7): 762-74
Protease inhibitors (PIs) are small ubiquitous proteins with a variety of biological functions in plants, including protein stabilization, modulation of apoptosis and defense against pathogens. Kunitz-like inhibitors (PKPIs) and proteinase inhibitors 1 (PI-1) are abundant in storage organs of potato plants and are up-regulated in other tissues in response to biotic and abiotic stress. However, little information is available on genotype-dependent regulation of individual PKPI group- and PI-1 genes. We isolated, sequenced and characterized four novel full-length PI-1 cDNAs (PPI3A2, PPI3A4, PPI2C4 and PPI2C1A) from Solanum tuberosum cv. Desirée. Specific primers were developed for PI-1 genes PPI3A2, PPI3B2 and PPI2C4 and the three PKPI homology groups A, B and C. Their expression profiles were studied by semi-quantitative RT-PCR in comparison with transcripts of the PI-1, Pin2 and PR1 gene families in various tissues, after wounding and Globodera rostochiensis infection of nematode-resistant genotypes P40 and LB7/4/c-I-7, and susceptible cv. Desirée. Individual PI-1 genes and PKPI homology groups were expressed in a tissue- and genotype-dependent manner after wounding and nematode infection. The differences in PI expression patterns were related to the intensity, type of inhibitors produced, and the kinetics of induction. Therefore, different genotype-environment combinations produce different sets of PI transcripts. Potato plants reacted to G. rostochiensis infection by modulating PKPI, PI-1 and Pin2, but not PR1 gene expression, suggesting that the jasmonic acid but not the salicylic acid defense signaling pathway is activated. PI expression profiles were not correlated with the resistance status of the potato genotype infected with G. rostochiensis.

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