Victorin induction of an apoptotic/senescence-like response in oats.
Victorin is a host-selective toxin produced by Cochliobolus victoriae, the causal agent of victoria blight of oats. Previously, victorin was shown to be bound specifically by two proteins of the mitochondrial glycine decarboxylase complex, at least one of which binds victorin only in toxin-sensitive genotypes in vivo. This enzyme complex is involved in the photorespiratory cycle and is inhibited by victorin, with an effective concentration for 50% inhibition of 81 pM. Victorin induced a specific proteolytic cleavage of the Rubisco large subunit (LSU). Leaf slices incubated with victorin for 4 hr in the dark accumulated a form of the LSU that is cleaved after the 14th amino acid. This proteolytic cleavage was prevented by the protease inhibitors E-64 and calpeptin. Another primary symptom of victorin treatment was chlorophyll loss, which along with the specific LSU cleavage is suggestive of a victorin-induced, senescence-like response. DNA from victorin-treated leaf slices showed a pronounced laddering effect, which is typical of apoptosis. Calcium appeared to play a role in mediating the plant response to victorin because LaCl3 gave near-complete protection against victorin, preventing both leaf symptoms and LSU cleavage. The ethylene inhibitors aminooxyacetic acid and silver thiosulfate also gave significant protection against victorin-induced leaf symptoms and prevented LSU cleavage. The symptoms resulting from victorin treatment suggest that victorin causes premature senescence of leaves.