Sulfur-Enhanced Defence: Effects of Sulfur Metabolism, Nitrogen Supply, and Pathogen Lifestyle Academic Article uri icon


  • Evidence from field experiments indicates differential roles of sulfur and nitrogen supply for plant resistance against pathogens. Dissection of these observations in defined pathosystems and controlled nutritional conditions indicates an activation of plant sulfur metabolism in several incompatible and compatible interactions. Contents of cysteine and glutathione as markers of primary sulfate assimilation and stress response show increases in ARABIDOPSIS THALIANA upon infection, coinciding with the synthesis of sulfur-containing defence compounds. Similar increases of thiols were observed with necrotrophic, biotrophic, and hemibiotrophic pathogens. Sulfate supply was found to be neutral or beneficial for tolerance against fungal but neutral for bacterial pathogens under IN VITRO conditions. According to various reports and own observations the effects of nitrogen supply appeared to be neutral or harmful, depending on the pathogen. The activation of sulfur metabolism was a consequence of activation of gene expression as revealed by macroarray analysis of an A. THALIANA/ALTERNARIA BRASSICICOLA pathosystem. This activation appeared to be largely independent from sufficient or optimal sulfate supply and from the established sulfate deficiency response. The data suggest that plant-pathogen interactions and sulfur metabolism are linked by jasmonic acid as signal.


  • Kruse, C
  • Jost, R
  • Lipschis, M
  • Kopp, B
  • Hartmann, M
  • Hell, R

publication date

  • September 2007