Local and systemic activity of BABA (DL-3-aminobutyric acid) against Plasmopara viticola in grapevines

Yigal Cohen, Moshe Reuveni, Alexander Baider

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The non-protein amino acid BABA (DL-3-amino-n-butanoic acid, β-aminobutyric acid) is reported here to induce local and systemic resistance against downy mildew in grape leaves. Leaf discs of susceptible cultivars placed on BABA solutions and inoculated with Plasmopara viticola on the counter surface produced brownish restricted lesions below the inoculation site (hypersensitive-like response, HR) which failed to support fungal sporulation. Histochemical analyses of such HR lesions revealed the accumulation of lignin-like deposits in the host cells. In contrast, water-treated inoculated discs produced expanded chlorotic lesions with profuse sporulation in which no lignin accumulation was observed. Mock-inoculated BABA-treated leaf discs showed no HR or lignin accumulation. Concentrations as low as 25 μg/ml (0.25 mM) of BABA sufficed to prevent tissue colonization with the fungus. Five other isomers of aminobutyric acid, namely L-2 aminobutyric acid, 2-amino isobutyric acid, DL-2-aminobutyric acid (AABA), DL-3-amino isobutyric acid, and 4-aminobutyric acid (GABA) gave no protection against the downy mildew fungus. Of the two (R and S) enantiomers of BABA only the R form was active in producing HR, suggesting a specific stereostructure requirement for activity. BABA could stop fungal colonization even when applied postinfectionally to leaf discs. Resistance of BABA-pulse-loaded leaf discs persisted for more than 14 days. BABA provided systemic protection against the disease when applied via the root system or via the lower leaves of grape plants. Application of 14C-BABA to a single leaf of intact plants showed the accumulation of the 14C label in upper leaves (and root tips), suggesting sink-oriented transport.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-361
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Plant Pathology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999


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