Changes in the level of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and activity of peroxidases towards phenolic substrates (EC 220.127.116.11) such as pyrogallol (PPX), syringaldazine (SPX) and guaiacol (GPX), and cytosolic ascorbate peroxidase (cAPX, EC 18.104.22.168) in response to infestation of cowpea aphid (Aphis craccivora Koch) were analyzed in soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr. cv. ‘‘Nam Dan’’) at the V3 stage (first two trifoliate leaves fully developed, third trifoliate leaf unrolled) for 96 h post-infestation (hpi). Influence of A. craccivora at a varied population size (10, 20 and 30 individuals per each soybean plant) caused a burst of H2O2 generation in the aphid-infested leaves at 12 hpi. Paralleling the H2O2 accumulation, peroxidase activity in all the infested plants remarkably increased and was significantly higher than that observed in controls (uninfested plants). The cascade of enzymes induced was continuously overlapped by the early enhancement of SPX within 6–24 hpi, an expression of cAPX (12–48 hpi) followed by an accumulation of GPX (24–72 hpi) and PPX (24–96 hpi). The differential induction of SPX, GPX, PPX and cAPX resulted in a rapid reduction of H2O2 content in aphid-infested leaves, and the activity of peroxidase was closely correlated with the intensity of A. craccivora infestation around the defined points of time at which the activity of each enzyme reached the maximum level. The increase in activity of peroxidases matched their function as controlling accumulation of H2O2 and detoxifying this reactive oxygen product when soybean plants were challenged with cowpea aphid. Furthermore, peroxidases could directly deter cowpea aphid feeding through other functions such as the anti-nutritive and/or toxicological defenses and/or limiting the penetration of aphid stylets into plant tissues via participating to strengthen and reinforce the cell wall barrier. These results indicated that peroxidases may be some elements of the defense system that increased the resistance of G. max cv. ‘‘Nam Dan’’ to infestation of A. craccivora. Keywords Aphis craccivora Cowpea aphid Glycine max Hydrogen peroxide Peroxidases Soybean Abb.
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