Structurally unrelated algal oligosaccharides differentially stimulate growth and defense against tobacco mosaic virus in tobacco plants
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Tobacco plants were treated with structurally unrelated oligosaccharides obtained from Chilean marine macroalgae. These oligosaccharides were prepared by chemical depolymerization of native polysaccharides extracted from brown and red algae and correspond to pure polymers of around 20 units of guluronic acid (Poly-Gu), mannuronic acid (Poly-Ma) and sulphated galactan (Poly-Ga). These oligosaccharides were solubilized in water, at a final concentration of 500 μg mL−1, and sprayed on tobacco leaves, once a week for a month. Their effects on the stimulation of growth and defense against tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) were determined 7 and 15 days after the final spraying, respectively. The activities of several defense and antioxidant enzymes and the levels of water-soluble antioxidant compounds were determined. Plants treated with Poly-Ga and Poly-Ma showed an increase in height of 23% and 49%, respectively, whereas Poly-Gu did not stimulate growth. Plants treated with Poly-Gu, Poly-Ma and Poly-Ga showed an increase in defense against TMV corresponding to decreases in the number of necrotic lesions of 9%, 22% and 74%, respectively. The stimulation of plant growth correlates with activation of the antioxidant enzyme ascorbate peroxidase (AP) and with a decrease in ascorbate level. On the other hand, the stimulation of defense against TMV is correlated with the activation of the defense enzyme phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL). These results indicate that algal oligosaccharides differentially stimulate growth and defense against TMV in tobacco plants and that these processes involve the activation of the enzymes AP and PAL, respectively.
Key wordsantioxidant compounds antioxidant enzymes defense enzymes growth stimulation TMV infection
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