A pleiotropic drug resistance transporter in Nicotiana tabacum is involved in defense against the herbivore Manduca sexta


(e-mail marc.boutry@uclouvain.be).


Pleiotropic drug resistance (PDR) transporters are a group of membrane proteins belonging to the ABCG sub-family of ATP binding cassette (ABC) transporters. There is clear evidence for the involvement of plant ABC transporters in resistance to fungal and bacterial pathogens, but not in the biotic stress response to insect or herbivore attack. Here, we describe a PDR transporter, ABCG5/PDR5, from Nicotiana tabacum. GFP fusion and subcellular fractionation studies revealed that ABCG5/PDR5 is localized to the plasma membrane. Staining of transgenic plants expressing the GUS reporter gene under the control of the ABCG5/PDR5 transcription promoter and immunoblotting of wild-type plants showed that, under standard growth conditions, ABCG5/PDR5 is highly expressed in roots, stems and flowers, but is only expressed at marginal levels in leaves. Interestingly, ABCG5/PDR5 expression is induced in leaves by methyl jasmonate, wounding, pathogen infiltration, or herbivory by Manduca sexta. To address the physiological role of ABCG5/PDR5, N. tabacum plants silenced for the expression of ABCG5/PDR5 were obtained. No phenotypic modification was observed under standard conditions. However, a small increase in susceptibility to the fungus Fusarium oxysporum was observed. A stronger effect was observed in relation to herbivory: silenced plants allowed better growth and faster development of M. sexta larvae than wild-type plants, indicating an involvement of this PDR transporter in resistance to M. sexta herbivory.