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Article|31 May 2022|OPEN
The fungal elicitor eutypine from Eutypa lata activates basal immunity through its phenolic side chains
Pingyin Guan1,2 , Florian Schmidt3 , Jochen Fischer3 , Michael Riemann2 and Eckhard Thines3 , Peter Nick,3 ,
1College of Horticulture, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China
2Molecular Cell Biology, Botanical Institute, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Fritz-Haber-Weg 4, 76131 Karlsruhe, Germany
3Institut für Biotechnologie und Wirkstoff-Forschung gGmbH, Hanns-Dieter-Hüsch-Weg 17, 55128 Mainz, Germany
*Corresponding author. E-mail:

Horticulture Research 9,
Article number: uhac120 (2022)
Views: 96

Received: 08 Sep 2021
Accepted: 08 May 2022
Published online: 31 May 2022


Grapevine trunk diseases (GTDs) affect grape production and reduce vineyard longevity worldwide. Since the causative fungi also occur in asymptomatic trunks, we address disease outbreak in terms of altered chemical communication between host and endophyte. Here, we identified four chemically similar secondary metabolites secreted by the GTD-associated fungus Eutypa lata to analyse their modes of action in a grapevine cell culture of Vitis rupestris, where microtubules were tagged by GFP. Treatment with the metabolite eutypine activated defence responses, evident from extracellular alkalinisation and induction of defence genes. Eutypinol, instead, eliminated microtubules, in contrast to the other three compounds. Furthermore, we evaluated the effect of four corresponding chemical analogues of these compounds, sharing the phenolic but lacking the alkyne moiety. These analogues were able to induce similar defence responses in V. rupestris cells, albeit at reduced amplitude. Since closely related moieties differing only in details of the side groups at the phenolic ring differ significantly with respect to the response of the host cell, we propose that these fungal compounds act through a specific binding site at the membrane of grapevine cells. We corroborate this specificity by combination experiments, where the eutypine and the eutypinol analogues behave competitively with respect to the elicited responses. In summary, Eutypa lata secretes compounds that elicit host defence in a specific manner by interfering with early events of immunity signalling. This supports the notion that a real understanding of GTDs has to address inter-organismic chemical communication.