In order to clarify whether high linalool content in citrus leaves alone induces strong field resistance to citrus canker caused by Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri (Xcc), and to assess whether this trait can be transferred to a citrus type highly sensitive to the bacterium, transgenic 'Hamlin' sweet orange (Citrus sinensis L. Osbeck) plants over-expressing a linalool synthase gene (CuSTS3-1) were generated. Transgenic lines (LIL) with the highest linalool content showed strong resistance to citrus canker when spray inoculated with the bacterium. In LIL plants inoculated by wounding (multiple-needle inoculation), the linalool level was correlated with the repression of the bacterial titer and up-regulation of defense-related genes. The exogenous application of salicylic acid, methyl jasmonate or linalool triggered responses similar to those constitutively induced in LIL plants. The linalool content in Ponkan mandarin leaves was significantly higher than that of leaves from six other representative citrus genotypes with different susceptibilities to Xcc. We propose that linalool-mediated resistance might be unique to citrus tissues accumulating large amounts of volatile organic compounds in oil cells. Linalool might act not only as a direct antibacterial agent, but also as a signal molecule involved in triggering a non-host resistance response against Xcc.
- non-host resistance
- systematic acquired resistance
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Plant Science