Overexpression of arginase in Arabidopsis thaliana influences defence responses against Botrytis cinerea


  • Editor
    C. Pieterse

G. Angenon, Laboratory of Plant Genetics, Institute for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Pleinlaan 2, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium.
E-mail: Geert.Angenon@vub.ac.be


Arabidopsis possesses two arginase-encoding genes, ARGAH1 and ARGAH2, catalysing the catabolism of arginine into ornithine and urea. Arginine and ornithine are both precursors for polyamine biosynthetic pathways. We observed an accumulation of ARGAH2 mRNA in Arabidopsis upon inoculation with the necrotrophic pathogen Botrytis cinerea. Transgenic lines displaying either overexpression of ARGAH2 or simultaneous silencing of both Arabidopsis arginase-encoding genes were created and their resistance to B. cinerea infection evaluated. Overexpression of arginase resulted in changes in amino acid accumulation, while polyamine levels remained largely unaffected. Silencing lines were affected in both amino acid and putrescine accumulation. Arabidopsis plants overexpressing the arginase gene were less susceptible to B. cinerea, whereas silencing lines remained as susceptible as the wild type. We discuss how arginase might interact with plant defence mechanisms. These results provide new insights into amino acid metabolic changes under stress.