Phytophthora infestans induced defense response in calli of wild and cultivated potato genotypes: Pathogen induced cell death in cultures - a marker for resistance

  • Kumari N Aruna Department of Plant Biotechnology, University of Agricultural Sciences, GKVK, Bangalore 560065
  • Veena S Anil University of Agricultural Sciences, GKVK, Bangalore
  • B. T. Krishnaprasad Department of Agricultural Biotechnology, College of Agriculture, Hassan 573225


Late Blight caused by Phytophthora infestans (Mont.) de Bary is the most destructive foliar disease causing 30% yield losses in the potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) crop globally. Wild potato genotypes AC1 and AC4, and potato cultivar Kufri Girdhari are highly resistant, whereas wild genotype AC6, and cultivars Kufri Chandramuki and Kufri Jyoti are susceptible to Late Blight. In the current study, the calli of these six potato genotypes were used to understand the mechanism of cellular resistance to Late Blight. Exposure to P. infestans or its elicitors significantly induced peroxidase (POX) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activities, and induced accumulation of phenolics and flavonoids, indicating the capability of the calli cells to mount a defense response. The study is the first to report the extracellular secretion of defense enzymes, SOD and POX when cells encounter the pathogen, implicating a similar whole-plant phenomenon of enhanced defense in the apoplast. Interestingly, the calli of resistant genotypes showed poor survival upon exposure to pathogen or when grown on elicitor medium, while the susceptible genotypes showed better survival. The percentage of calli cells accumulating intracellular H2O2 was high in resistant genotypes, and directly correlated with the observed higher cell death. The study shows that H2O2 accumulation in the cells of resistant genotypes is indeed self-destructive, a whole plant phenomenon termed hypersensitive response - cell death at site of infection. The potato callus system thus can be used to gain new insights into the plant-defense response to P. infestans.


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Author Biography

Veena S Anil, University of Agricultural Sciences, GKVK, Bangalore

Plant biochemist at the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, currently working on Late blight resistance mechanisms in potato genotypes both at the whole plant and cellular levels. Earlier worked as Visiting Fellow at NCBS Bangalore on salt tolerance mecahanisms in rice. PhD degree from the department of Biochemistry, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.


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How to Cite
ARUNA, Kumari N; ANIL, Veena S; KRISHNAPRASAD, B. T.. Phytophthora infestans induced defense response in calli of wild and cultivated potato genotypes: Pathogen induced cell death in cultures - a marker for resistance. Plant Science Today, [S.l.], v. 4, n. 3, p. 105-120, july 2017. ISSN 2348-1900. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 19 aug. 2017. doi:
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