Tree internal signalling and defence reactions under ozone exposure in sun and shade leaves of European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) trees

Jehnes, S.; Betz, G.; Bahnweg, G.; Haberer, K.; Sandermann, H.; Rennenberg, H.

Plant Biology 9(2): 253-264


ISSN/ISBN: 1435-8603
PMID: 17357019
DOI: 10.1055/s-2006-924650
Accession: 068839389

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The influence of free-air ozone (O(3)) fumigation on the levels of gene transcripts and compounds of defence and signalling were analysed in leaves of adult beech trees from the "Kranzberg Forest" research site in 2003 and 2004. This includes the precursor of the stress hormone ethylene, ACC (1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid), conjugated salicylic acid, lignin content as well as of the expression level of genes connected with oxidative stress and stress signalling. At this site mature beech trees were exposed to an enhanced O(3) regime by a free-air O(3) canopy exposure system. Levels of conjugated ACC and conjugated salicylic acid in leaves were increased under O (3) fumigation whereas lignin content was only slightly enhanced. Quantitative real-time RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) was performed on transcripts of genes connected with lignin, salicylic acid, and ethylene formation, the shikimate pathway, abscisic acid biosynthesis as well as with the antioxidative system. Genes which showed O(3)-dependent increases included FSCOMT (caffeic-acid O-methyltransferase) connected with lignin formation, the stress response genes FSACS2 (ACC synthase) and FSPR1 (PR10 - pathogenesis-related protein), as well as FSNCED1 (9-cis-epoxicarotenoid dioxygenase), the rate-limiting enzyme of the ABA synthesis. For FSNCED1 expression level, a significant O(3) effect was found with an 8-fold (sun) and 7-fold (shade) induction in July 2003 and a 3-fold and 2.5-fold induction in July 2004. While the observed effects were not continuous, elevated O(3) is concluded to have the potential to disrupt the defence and signalling system.