The plant activator saccharin induces resistance to wheat powdery mildew by activating multiple defense-related genes

  • Le Thi Phuong
  • Lei Zhao
  • Aprilia Nur Fitrianti
  • Hidenori Matsui
  • Yoshiteru Noutoshi
  • Mikihiro Yamamoto
  • Yuki Ichinose
  • Tomonori Shiraishi
  • Kazuhiro ToyodaEmail author
Host Responses


Saccharin and its parental compound probenazole (PBZ) are plant activators of effective defense responses to (hemi) biotrophic pathogens. Here, we demonstrate that pretreatment of wheat seedlings with saccharin or PBZ results in a significant reduction of powdery mildew caused by Blumeria graminis f. sp. tritici. Transcriptional analysis revealed the expression of 15 defense-related genes including PR genes, WCI genes, LOX, AOS, NPR1, PAL and WRKY genes in wheat seedlings exposed to either saccharin or PBZ. Moreover, the saccharin- and PBZ-enhanced expression of those genes during fungal infection further proved a close correlation with increased resistance in wheat.


Blumeria graminis f. sp. tritici Induced resistance Plant activator Probenazole (PBZ) Saccharin Wheat 



LTP thanks the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (MEXT) for financial support during her doctoral program. This research was supported in part by the Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (18K05645) from the Japan Society for Promotion of Science (JSPS).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research involving human or animals participants

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

10327_2019_900_MOESM1_ESM.docx (31 kb)
Supplementary file1 (DOCX 31 kb)
10327_2019_900_MOESM2_ESM.pptx (14.4 mb)
Supplementary file2 Fig. S1 Effect of saccharin doses and application methods on growth of 10-day-old seedlings of susceptible wheat (Triticum aestivum cv. Nourin No. 61). Seedlings were sprayed with water (as a control) or saccharin (0, 0.1, 1, 3 and 5 mM) solutions amended with 0.01% (v/v) Silwet L-77 as a surfactant (a) or by drenching soil in pots with 2, 5 and 10 ml of solution (b). Wheat seedlings (aerial parts) were harvested to assess growth 10 days after treatment. Plant height and fresh mass did not differ significantly among doses or application methods (c) (Tukey’s test, p > 0.05). Data are means ± SD of plant height (cm) and fresh mass (g/seedling) from 20 seedlings. However, necrosis appeared on the tip of the first leaf of wheat plants (in circle, when saccharin was applied at high doses [3–5 mM]). The experiment was repeated twice with similar results; representative results are shown. Fig. S2 Foliar sprays of saccharin on 10-day-old wheat seedlings reduced disease development of B. graminis. Ten-day-old wheat seedlings were sprayed with 0, 0.1 or 1 mM saccharin amended with 0.01% (v/v) Silwet L-77, then inoculated 2 days later in a chamber containing wheat plants heavily infected with B. graminis. Pustules on adaxial side of leaves were counted (b) and symptoms photographed at 7 days post inoculation (a). Means (±SD) from 15–20 leaves are shown. Different letters indicate significant differences among treatments using Tukey’s test analysis (p < 0.05). The experiment was repeated twice with similar results; representative results are shown. (PPTX 14759 kb)


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Copyright information

© The Phytopathological Society of Japan and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Le Thi Phuong
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lei Zhao
    • 1
  • Aprilia Nur Fitrianti
    • 1
  • Hidenori Matsui
    • 1
  • Yoshiteru Noutoshi
    • 1
  • Mikihiro Yamamoto
    • 1
  • Yuki Ichinose
    • 1
  • Tomonori Shiraishi
    • 1
    • 3
  • Kazuhiro Toyoda
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratory of Plant Pathology and Genetic Engineering, Graduate School of Environmental and Life ScienceOkayama UniversityOkayamaJapan
  2. 2.Hong Duc UniversityThanh Hoa-CityVietnam
  3. 3.Research Institute of Biological Sciences (RIBS)OkayamaJapan

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