Arsenal of elevated defense proteins fails to protect tomato against Verticillium dahliae

Jane Robb, Hakeem Shittu, Kizhake V. Soman, Alexander Kurosky, Ross N. Nazar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Although the hypersensitive reaction in foliar plant diseases has been extensively described, little is clear regarding plant defense strategies in vascular wilt diseases affecting numerous economically important crops and trees. We have examined global genetic responses to Verticillium wilt in tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) plants differing in Ve1 resistance alleles. Unexpectedly, mRNA analyses in the susceptible plant (Ve1-) based on the microarrays revealed a very heroic but unsuccessful systemic response involving many known plant defense genes. In contrast, the response is surprisingly low in plants expressing the Ve1+ R-gene and successfully resisting the pathogen. Similarly, whole-cell protein analyses, based on 2D gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry, demonstrate large systemic increases in a variety of known plant defense proteins in the stems of susceptible plants but only modest changes in the resistant plant. Taken together, the results indicate that the large systemic increases in plant defense proteins do not protect the susceptible plant. Indeed, since a number of the highly elevated proteins are known to participate in the plant hypersensitive response as well as natural senescence, the results suggest that some or all of the disease symptoms, including ultimate plant death, actually may be the result of this exaggerated plant response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)623-633
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Lycopersicon
  • Plant defense
  • Vascular wilt

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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