Bryan A. Bailey*, Adi Avni, Ning Li, Autar K. Mattoo, and James D. Anderson Weed Science Laboratory (B.A.B., J.D.A.) and Plant Molecular Biology Laboratory (A.A., N.L., A.K.M.), United States Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Agriculture Research Center (West), Beltsville, Maryland 20705 Ethylene is a plant hormone that influences many aspects of plant growth and development (10). The biosynthetic pathway of ethylene production in higher plants is well defined. The rate-limiting step in this pathway is the reaction catalyzed by ACC' synthase (S-adenosyl-L-methionine methyl-thioadenosine-lyase, EC 126.96.36.199), which converts Sadenosyl-L-methionine to ACC. Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) has been used extensively to study the importance of ethylene in plant defense responses. It has been known for some time that ACC synthase activity is enhanced in tobacco leaves undergoing a hypersensitive response to pathogen attack (3). An EIX produced by the fungus Trichoderma viride elicits ethylene biosynthesis in N. tabacum cv Xanthi leaf tissue (2). When EIX is applied to the petiole of a detached tobacco leaf, it moves throughout the leaf and, consequently, induces ethylene production and tissue necrosis (1). If the tobacco leaves are first incubated with ethylene, the response to EIX treatment is greatly enhanced. mRNA was prepared from
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