Ethylene is often released during plant pathogenesis. Enhanced ethylene biosynthesis by the attacked plant, and formation of ethylene by the attacking pathogen may be involved. We defined the biosynthetic pathway of ethylene in the pathogenic fungus Botrytis cinerea, and characterized the conditions that affect ethylene production in vitro. During the first 48 h of culture the fungus uses methionine to produce α-keto γ-methylthiobutyric acid (KMBA) and secretes it to the medium. In darkness, KMBA accumulates in the medium. In light KMBA is photo-oxidized and ethylene is released. The photo-oxidation reaction is spontaneous and does not involve any enzymatic activity. Low levels of ethylene are produced in darkness between 48 and 96 h of culture. Adding peroxidase to dark-grown cultures induced ethylene formation. The results suggest that formation and secretion of KMBA by B. cinerea may affect ethylene levels during plant infection.
- Botrytis cinerea
- α-Keto γ-methylthiobutyric acid