Changes in anatomical features and protein pattern of sunflower partially resistant and susceptible lines during infection by virulence factors of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum
Helianthus annuus L. as an oil seed crop is widely grown throughout the world. One of the most destructive diseases of sunflower is stem rot caused by Sclerotinia sclerotiorum. Oxalic acid is the major virulence factor of this necrotrophic pathogen. It is important to further investigate plant responses to this non-specific toxin. The basal stems of sunflower partially resistant and susceptible lines were treated with 40 mM OA (pH 3.7) of fungus culture filtrate and samples were collected at 24, 48 and 72 hours post treatment. SDS-PAGE protein pattern and total soluble protein were determined in both lines after treatment. In SDS-PAGE protein pattern new protein bands appeared in both lines after treatment. These observations suggest induction of stress-related proteins upon culture filtrate treatment. The identities of these new proteins need to be more clarify in future investigations. The changes in xylem morphology and degree of lignification of both lines was studied by light microscopy and microtome sectioning techniques after treatment with S. sclerotiorum culture filtrate. Anatomical investigations revealed changes in xylem diameter and xylem lignification of treated lines at various time points. More lignin deposition in xylem vessels of partially resistant line has been observed after treatment. In addition, the size of xylem vessels in partially resistant line has been sharply decreased upon pathogen filtrate treatment. The results of this study will help us gain a more complete understanding of resistance mechanisms to this cosmopolitan and devastating pathogen.