Sucrose: A Constitutive Elicitor of Phytoalexin Synthesis

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Science  24 Jun 1983:
Vol. 220, Issue 4604, pp. 1398-1400
DOI: 10.1126/science.220.4604.1398


Extracts of seeds and leaves of the tropical legume Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp. (the pigeon pea) elicited the accumulation of three phytoalexins when applied as droplets to superficially wounded leaves of the plant. The active component was purified and identified as sucrose. Phytoalexin accumulation was proportional to the logarithm of the concentration of sucrose applied, with maxima ranging from 338 to 455 micrograms per gram (fresh weight) of leaf tissue. The sucrose concentrations required to elicit half these amounts ranged from 20 to 35 micrograms per milliliter, but other sugars had little effect even at 1000 micrograms per milliliter. The elicitor activity of sucrose was abolished by actinomycin D, puromycin, and cycloheximide at a concentration of 10 micrograms per milliliter or greater, suggesting that gene derepression is required for expression of the phytoalexin response.