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  • Author or Editor: L. Király x
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One of the most typical and best studied type of plant resistance is the hypersensitive response (HR), a form of localized programmed cell death associated with restriction or even killing of pathogens that often leads to macroscopically visible localized tissue necrosis. It is generally assumed that cell death and resistance within the HR are physiologically and genetically linked. However, there has been considerable speculation about whether cell death is an absolute requirement for resistance conditioned by the HR. This review discusses the relation of cell death and resistance in the HR, in particular, the importance of cell death in this process. We intend to focus on the increasing amount of research evidence showing that in several plant-pathogen interactions, the two main components of the HR-resistance and cell death-can be physiologically, genetically and temporally uncoupled. In other words, HR should be considered as a combination of resistance and cell death responses, where cell death may be dispensable for the plant resistance response. The varying contribution of these two components (i.e. cell death and resistance) generates an array of defense strategies - ranging from extreme resistance to“systemic HR”- applied by resistant host plants in the battle against pathogen infections.

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Gene silencing and RNA-mediated virus resistance are two remarkable and potentially useful phenomena that occur in higher plants.However,in light of recent research it seems likely that the post- transcriptional type of gene silencing and RNA-mediated virus resistance are actually manifestations of the same phenomenon.The occurrence of both post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS)and RNA-mediated virus resistance require sequence homology between a transgene and an endogenous gene or a transgene and an infecting virus,respectively.Furthermore,both processes are characterized by high transcription rates of homologous,silenced (trans)genes but low steady-state levels of their transcripts (in case of virus- infected plants,low steady-state transcript levels of the silenced transgene and homologous viral RNA which eventually leads to virus resistance).Therefore,PTGS is a potential tool for creating virus-resistant transgenic plants that express a sequence homologous to the invading virus.It is very unlikely,though,that PTGS in plants has evolved solely for the purpose of transgene suppression so it is perhaps not surprising that some natural virus defense systems have been found to resemble gene silencing.In addition,although plants may combat virus infections by gene silencing,there is recent evidence that some plant viruses can fight back by suppressing the plant 's ability to carry out the silencing process.The advantages and disadvantages of the commercial use of PTGS for creating virus-resistant plants (RNA-mediated virus resistance)is also discussed.

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In spite of the enormous information from research on genetics of plant disease resistance, the question still remains unresolved: what is directly inhibiting or killing pathogens and suppressing symptoms in resistant plants? This is particularly true for resistance to viral infections. Here we show that externally applied reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) or ROS-producing (O 2 ·− [superoxide] and H2O2) chemical systems infiltrated into tobacco leaves 2 hours after inoculation suppress replication of Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) in the susceptible Samsun (nn) cultivar. This was determined by a biological and a real-time PCR method. Infiltration of leaves of the resistant Xanthi (NN) cultivar with the ROS-producing chemicals and H2O2 significantly suppressed local necrotic lesions (i.e. the hypersensitive response) after inoculation of tobacco leaves with TMV. Accordingly, an early accumulation or external application of ROS, such as O 2 ·− and H2O2, in tobacco may contribute to the development of resistance to TMV infection.

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Similarities and differences in the immune systems of plants and animals are discussed in relation to non-specific and specific immunity (resistance), systemic acquired resistance (immune memory), transgenerational immune memory and gene silencing. Furthermore, we attempt to answer the question “what is inhibiting or killing pathogens during the immune (resistance) process”? Therefore, the possible roles of reactive oxygen species and antioxidants in pathogen inhibition are evaluated in different types of plant disease resistance.

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In plants, recognition of a pathogen as an invader may result in the formation of hypersensitive response (HR) lesions, i.e. localized programmed cell and tissue death associated with restriction of the pathogen to the infection site. A transient suppression of antioxidants is known to occur during relatively early stages of the HR. Here we show that the transient suppression of a catalase and an alternative oxidase gene during virusinduced local lesion formation (HR) has similar kinetics in different hosts regardless of the extent of leaf necrotization. Both Nicotiana edwardsonii var. Columbia and a paraquat tolerant N. tabacum biotype display significantly less and smaller necrotic lesions in response to inoculation by two viruses ( Tobacco mosaic virus and Tobacco necrosis virus ) in comparison to control plants ( N. edwardsonii and N. tabacum cv. Samsun, respectively). We found that all of these plant hosts display a transient suppression of catalase and alternative oxidase transcript levels starting within six hours after virus inoculation. Our results suggest that the transient decline in antioxidant activity during early stages of an HR does not significantly influence the extent of localized cell death around infection sites.

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The present study investigated how sighted and blind sensory assessors evaluated the quality of various apple varieties: Regal Prince (Gala Must), Jonagold Schneica (Jonica), Watson Jonathan, Golden Reinders and Generos. A total of 80 sighted and 12 blind people participated in the study, in three groups (sighted people without blindfolds, sighted people with blindfolds, blind people). The preference of sensory attributes (size, shape, colour, texture, taste and odour) was evaluated on a six-category scale. The data were analysed using single-factor (ANOVA, LSD95%, 99%) and multi-factor (Cluster analysis, ANOVA, LSD95%, 99%) evaluation. The results showed that blind and sighted assessors made similar judgements on external attributes perceptible by touch (size, shape), but differed in their evaluation of certain quality factors (flavour, taste), resulting in opponent patterns of preference on some apple varieties (Generos, Jonagold Schneica). A further conclusion of the experiment is that there was less deviation between the judgements of sighted assessors when they saw the apples than when they were blindfolded. The background of this phenomenon might be explained by the uncertainty and disturbed perception, which lead to inconsistent judgements.

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The effect of the porcine myogenin (Myog) 3' polymorphism on birth weight, growth rate, carcass weight, lean weight, lean meat percentage and backfat thickness has been investigated in Hungarian Large White pigs. MYOG genotypes were determined by PCR-RFLP assay. The obtained MYOGA frequency value was 0.6275. Due to the small number of BB piglets the effect of the MYOG genotypes on birth weight was not significant; however, an increasing tendency was observed from genotype AA to BB. The growth rate difference between MYOG genotypes was significant: BB animals showed the highest growth rate values during the fattening period. Since few results are available on the possible use of MYOG gene polymorphism in selection to improve carcass and growth traits, by this study the authors hope to provide additional data on this particular subject.

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The drought stress tolerance of three accessions of Aegilops biuncialis Vis. (Ae225, Ae550 and Ae1050) and two varieties of Triticum aestivum L. (Sakha and Cappelle Desprez) was compared. The activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD) isoenzymes, which reflects the intensity of oxidative stress, changes in the malonic dialdehyde (MDA) content, formed during the lipid peroxidation induced by stress situations, and the inducibility of electron removal systems appearing as an alternative to CO 2 fixation were chosen for the present investigations. Drought stress was simulated using polyethylene glycol (PEG). The order of drought stress tolerance obtained correlated well with the original habitats ofthe varieties. The present results provide a clear illustration of the fact that tolerant varieties respond differently for the parameters tested, suggesting that their resistance can be attributed to different mechanisms. Abbreviations:CuZnSOD=superoxide dismutase isoform with Cu and Zn cofactor metals, MnSOD and FeSOD=superoxide dismutase isoform with Mn and Fe cofactor metals, PVP25= polyvinyl pyrrolidone 25, MDA=malonic dialdehyde, PEG=polyethylene glycol, TCA=trichloro acetic acid, TBA=thiobarbituric acid, ΔF=F m -F s , F m =maximal fluorescence yield, F s =fluorescence yield in steady state

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High concentrations of the reactive oxygen species (ROS) superoxide (O2 •−) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) contribute to the induction of plant cell and tissue death (necrosis). In an effort to create transgenic plants with high antioxidant capacity that could resist necrotic symptoms we produced two transgenic tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum cv. SR1) lines (S1 and S2) overexpressing a tomato chloroplast superoxide dismutase (SlChSOD). SOD genes encode for antioxidant enzymes that dismutate superoxide to hydrogen peroxide. Therefore, SOD-overproducing plants may contain high levels of hydrogen peroxide and are sensitive to stress-related necrosis unless sufficient degradation of hydrogen peroxide is conferred by elevated expression of antioxidants like e.g. catalases and peroxidases. Indeed, line S1 displayed elevated expression of a glutathione peroxidase (NtGPX) and a glutathione S-transferase (NtGSTU1b), as compared to wild type plants. Interestingly, however, expression of a catalase (NtCAT1) was repressed in both SOD-overexpressing lines. This predicts that such plants could be sensitive to localized necrosis (HR) caused by virus infection, since repression of NtCAT1 has been shown to occur during virus-induced HR (e.g. Dorey et al., 1998; Künstler et al., 2007). To elucidate whether other catalases might play a role in resistance to virus induced HR-type necrotic symptoms, a maize catalase (ZmCat2) was transiently overexpressed in Nicotiana edwardsonii and N. edwardsonii var. Columbia plants by agroinfiltration. Inoculation of agroinfiltrated plants with Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) revealed that ZmCat2 confers enhanced resistance to HR-type necrosis during TMV infection. It seems that catalases may play different roles in influencing resistance to virus-induced hypersensitive necrosis.

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Erwinia amylovora (Burrill, Winslow et al.) is one of the most important pathogens of pear and apple and subject to strict quarantine regulations worldwide. Fire blight disease causes serious damages in pear orchards in Hungary. The aim of our experiment was to test the susceptibility of pear cultivars to Hungarian E. amylovora isolates under laboratory conditions. For inoculation test isolates were chosen from different host plants, areas and years. Seven traditional pear cultivars were chosen for testing. Fruit infection was rated according to the diameter of spots produced by the pathogen around the inoculation puncture. Cultivars and isolates were assigned to five susceptibility groups (symptomless, low susceptibility, moderate susceptibility, susceptible and very susceptible). The Hungarian Erwinia amylovora isolates showed different results. We found different susceptibility of traditional pear cultivars. The cultivars Alexander Lucas and Stössel tábornok represented the less susceptible category. Eldorado, Serres Olivér, Diel vajkörte were moderately susceptible. Thus, the most susceptible cultivars were Téli esperes and Drouard elnök. In conclusion, these results can be used for the classification of Erwinia amylovora isolates and in future breeding programmes for resistance.

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