It has been suggested that pectic polysaccharides (or oligosaccharides cleaved from them) are liberated from the cell wall upon wounding of leaf tissue, and that they act as long-distance hormones evoking a defence response in neighbouring uninjured leaves (P.D. bishop et al. 1981, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 78, 3536-3540, and cited literature). We have tested this hypothesis by infiltration of radioactive pectic fragments (rhamnogalacturonans and homogalacturonans of degrec of polymerisation down to 6) into wounds on tomato leaves. No radioactivity was exported from the treated leaf. [14C]Sucrose, applied in the same way, was effectively translocated, probably via the phloem. We suggest that pectic substances are not themselves long-distance wound hormones. The possibility remains that pectic substances, solubilised on wounding, act in the immediate vicinity of the wound to stimulate the dispatch of a second messenger, which would be the long-distance wound hormone.
- lycopersicon (wound hormone)
- pectic oligosaccharide
- proteinase inhibitor inducing factor
- wound hormone