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    Plant resistance inducers are among the most promising alternatives to develop sustainable crop protection. Here, we examined the ability of saccharin, a metabolite derived from probenazole, to protect wheat against Zymoseptoria tritici, the most frequently occurring and damaging foliar pathogen on this crop. The experiments were performed in the greenhouse by treating seedlings of the wheat cultivar 'Alixan' with 15 mM of saccharin 2 days before challenge inoculation with the Z. tritici pathogenic strain T02596. Foliar application of saccharin resulted in 77% lower disease severity than in nontreated control plants. In vitro and in planta assays showed that saccharin did not exhibit any direct antifungal effect on spore germination or hyphal growth. Molecular investigations from 2 to 7 days posttreatment (dpt) revealed that saccharin treatment upregulates the expression of genes encoding for lipoxygenase (LOX) at all sampled time points and pathogenesis-related protein 1 (PR1) at 7 dpt, in both noninfectious and infectious contexts, as well as peroxidase (POX2) in noninfectious conditions. However, saccharin did not induce significant change in the expression of PAL gene encoding for phenylalanine ammonia-lyase. Our findings report for the first time the potential of saccharin to confer protection in wheat against Z. tritici through an elicitation and priming of LOX and PR gene-related defense pathways. Additional investigations would provide a better deciphering of defense mechanisms activated by this molecule in wheat against Z. tritici.


    Samara Mejri, Maryline Magnin-Robert, Beatrice Randoux, Alina Ghinet, Patrice Halama, Ali Siah, Philippe Reignault. Saccharin Provides Protection and Activates Defense Mechanisms in Wheat Against the Hemibiotrophic Pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici. Plant disease. 2021 Apr;105(4):780-786

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    PMID: 32830594

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