Plants elaborate a vast array of enzymes that synthesize defensive secondary metabolites in response to pathogen attack. Here, we isolated the pathogen-responsive CaMNR1 [menthone: (+)-(3S)-neomenthol reductase] gene, a member of the short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase (SDR) superfamily, from pepper (Capsicum annuum) plants. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis revealed that purified CaMNR1 and its ortholog AtSDR1 from Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) catalyze a menthone reduction with reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate as a cofactor to produce neomenthol with antimicrobial activity. CaMNR1 and AtSDR1 also possess a significant catalytic activity for neomenthol oxidation. We examined the cellular function of the CaMNR1 gene by virus-induced gene silencing and ectopic overexpression in pepper and Arabidopsis plants, respectively. CaMNR1-silenced pepper plants were significantly more susceptible to Xanthomonas campestris pv vesicatoria and Colletotrichum coccodes infection and expressed lower levels of salicylic acid-responsive CaBPR1 and CaPR10 and jasmonic acid-responsive CaDEF1. CaMNR1-overexpressing Arabidopsis plants exhibited enhanced resistance to the hemibiotrophic pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv tomato DC3000 and the biotrophic pathogen Hyaloperonospora parasitica isolate Noco2, accompanied by the induction of AtPR1 and AtPDF1.2. In contrast, mutation in the CaMNR1 ortholog AtSDR1 significantly enhanced susceptibility to both pathogens. Together, these results indicate that the novel menthone reductase gene CaMNR1 and its ortholog AtSDR1 positively regulate plant defenses against a broad spectrum of pathogens.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Plant Science