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Homocysteine (Hcy) is a naturally occurring intermediate metabolite formed during methionine metabolism. It has been well documented that its excess can be extremely toxic to mammalian, yeast and bacterial cells. In spite of the metabolic value of Hcy known for decades, the role of this amino acid in the plant response to stress has not been recognized yet. In the presented study, using potato plant (Solanum tuberosum L.) and Phytophthora infestans as a model system, the presence and tissue localization of Hcy in leaves was examined by an immunohistochemical method. The over-production of Hcy was more evidenced in the susceptible than in the resistant genotype of potato starting from 48 hpi. Furthermore, the elevated level of Hcy was correlated in time with the up-regulation of genes engaged in its biosynthesis, e.g. cystathionine β-lyase and S-adenosyl-l-homocysteine hydrolase. The pharmacological approach with exogenous Hcy resulted in significant rise in lipid peroxidation and more potent late blight disease development in leaves of susceptible potato as well. Finally, it has been found that key defense enzymes, i.e. phenylalanine ammonia lyase and β-1,3-glucanase were up-regulated early in the resistant potato genotype, starting from 1st hpi. In turn, in the susceptible potato the time-lag in expression of these enzymes tuned with excess production of Hcy might facilitate leaf tissue colonization by pathogen. Based on obtained results it should be stated that Hcy over-accumulation is engaged in pathophysiological mechanism leading to the abolishment of the resistance and might be an informative disease hallmark both in plant and in animal system. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.


Magdalena Arasimowicz-Jelonek, Jolanta Floryszak-Wieczorek, Jarosław Gzyl, Jagna Chmielowska-Bąk. Homocysteine over-accumulation as the effect of potato leaves exposure to biotic stress. Plant physiology and biochemistry : PPB / Société française de physiologie végétale. 2013 Feb;63:177-84

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PMID: 23266362

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