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Aconitate and methyl aconitate are modulated by silicon in powdery mildew-infected wheat plants.

Rémus-Borel, W., Menzies, J.G., and Bélanger, R.R. (2009). "Aconitate and methyl aconitate are modulated by silicon in powdery mildew-infected wheat plants.", Journal of Plant Physiology, 166(13), pp. 1413-1422. doi : 10.1016/j.jplph.2009.02.011  Access to full text


The accumulation of 5,6-O-methyl trans-aconitate in wheat was previously found to be linked with the presence of powdery mildew (Blumeria graminis) and silicon (Si) feeding. In this work, we sought to determine if trans-aconitate (TA) could act as a precursor of methylated forms of TA in wheat and if a relationship existed between Si treatment, disease development, TA and methyl TA concentration within wheat leaves. In absence of infection, TA concentration increased over time regardless of Si feeding. By contrast, TA concentration remained fairly constant over time in both Si and Si+-infected plants but Si+ plants had a significantly lower level than Si plants. Conversely, methyl TA concentration increased in wheat leaves in response to infection and was linked to wheat's increased resistance induced by Si. The effect of Si feeding was only noticeable on methyl TA concentration in presence of the fungus. This suggests that Si does not act directly on TA concentration in leaves but somehow accentuate the production of methyl TA in stressed plants. Based on the concurrent increase in methyl TA and leveling off of TA concentration, it appears that the latter, instead of accumulating, is used by diseased plants to produce antifungal methylated forms of TA that would act as phytoalexins to limit disease development, a phenomenon more pronounced in plants treated with Si.

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