Systemic acquired resistance is a broad spectrum inducible defense response that is associated with the expression of a set of genes (SAR genes). Expression of one of these genes (PR-1a from tobacco) in transgenic tobacco confers increased tolerance to two oomycete pathogens.
A direct role for salicylic acid (SA) in signaling SAR has been established in tobacco by analysis of transgenic tobacco expressing salicylate hydroxylase (SAH, an enzyme that inactivates SA by conversion to catechol). Tobacco plants that express SAH are blocked in the accumulation of SA and the development of SAR when responding lo TMV. Furthermore, both Arabidopsis and tobacco expressing SAH have altered pathogen induced lesion morphology, exemplified by larger spreading lesions.
Putative mutants in SAR gene expression were isolated by screening M2 Arabidopsis plants for altered expression of PR-1 and PR-2 or for sensitivity to pathogen infection following INA treatment. The putative mutants all into two major classes,constitutive (cim, constitutive immunity) and non-inducible (nim, non-inducible immunity). Several cim mutants exhibits a disease lesion phenotype in the absence of pathogen.