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Cell surface redox potential as a mechanism of defense against photosensitizers in fungi.

By C C Sollod, A E Jenns and M E Daub


The phytotoxin cercosporin, a singlet oxygen-generating photosensitizer, is toxic to plants, mice, and many fungi, yet the fungi that produce it, Cercospora spp., are resistant. We hypothesize that resistance to cercosporin may result from a reducing environment at the cell surface. Twenty tetrazolium dyes differing in redox potential were used as indicators of cell surface redox potential of seven fungal species differing in resistance to cercosporin. Resistant fungi were able to reduce significantly more dyes than were sensitive fungi. A correlation between dye reduction and cercosporin resistance was also observed when resistance levels of Cercospora species were manipulated by growth on different media. The addition of the reducing agents ascorbate, cysteine, and reduced glutathione (GSH) to growth media decreased cercosporin toxicity for sensitive fungi. None of these agents directly reduced cercosporin at the concentrations at which they protected fungi. Spectral and thin-layer chromatographic analyses of cercosporin solutions containing the different reducing agents indicated that GSH, but not cysteine or ascorbate, reacted with cercosporin. Resistant and sensitive fungi did not differ in endogenous levels of cysteine, GSH, or total thiols. On the basis of data from this and other studies, this report presents a model which proposes that cercosporin resistance results from the production of reducing power at the surfaces of resistant cells, leading to transient reduction and detoxification of the cercosporin molecule

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1992
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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