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  • Author or Editor: M.J. Moloi x
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The involvement of nitric oxide (NO) in the Russian wheat aphid (RWA), Diuraphis noxia (Kurdjumov), resistance response of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) was investigated. Resistant (cv. Tugela DN) and near isogenic susceptible (cv. Tugela) wheat plants grown under green-house conditions were used. Russian wheat aphid infestation induced an early accumulation of NO to a higher level in the resistant than susceptible plants. Nitric oxide accumulation corresponded with increased nitrate reductase (NR, EC 1.6.6.1) and nitrite reductase (NiR, EC 1.7.7.1) activities, suggesting a possible association with NO production. Inhibition studies confirmed the involvement of NR in NO production during the RWA resistance response. The use of a NO donor or NR inhibitor revealed that NO could act as another early signal for induction of the secondary defence enzymes, intercellular β-1,3-glucanase and peroxidase.

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The Russian wheat aphid (RWA) is serious pest of wheat in South Africa since its discovery in 1978. Nitric oxide (NO) plays an essential role in the RWA resistance response of wheat. This study was conducted to establish whether NO acts upstream or downstream of salicylic acid (SA) during the RWA defence response and also to investigate the effect of NO application on RWA control. In addition, the involvement of peroxynitrite in the RWA resistance response of wheat was studied. Resistant and/or susceptible plants grown under controlled conditions (25 ± 2°C) were used. Using a NO donor, sodium nitroprusside (SNP), and a NO production inhibitor, sodium tungstate (NaWO4), it was proved that NO acts upstream of SA during the RWA resistance response of wheat. Furthermore, a significant decrease in RWA intrinsic increase rate (rm) and disease symptom development after SNP application emphasized the role of NO in the RWA resistance responses. High levels of peroxynitrite (by-product of NO) content in the RWA infested resistant plants and inhibition of secondary defence enzymes (β-1,3-glucanase and peroxidase) after urate (inhibitor of peroxynitrite production) application proposed the involvement of this molecule in the signalling events of the RWA resistance.

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