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A novel Arabidopsis pathosystem reveals cooperation of multiple hormonal response-pathways in host resistance against the global crop destroyer Macrophomina phaseolina.

  • Author(s): Schroeder, Mercedes M
  • Lai, Yan
  • Shirai, Miwa
  • Alsalek, Natalie
  • Tsuchiya, Tokuji
  • Roberts, Philip
  • Eulgem, Thomas
  • et al.
Abstract

Dubbed as a "global destroyer of crops", the soil-borne fungus Macrophomina phaseolina (Mp) infects more than 500 plant species including many economically important cash crops. Host defenses against infection by this pathogen are poorly understood. We established interactions between Mp and Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis) as a model system to quantitatively assess host factors affecting the outcome of Mp infections. Using agar plate-based infection assays with different Arabidopsis genotypes, we found signaling mechanisms dependent on the plant hormones ethylene, jasmonic acid and salicylic acid to control host defense against this pathogen. By profiling host transcripts in Mp-infected roots of the wild-type Arabidopsis accession Col-0 and ein2/jar1, an ethylene/jasmonic acid-signaling deficient mutant that exhibits enhanced susceptibility to this pathogen, we identified hundreds of genes potentially contributing to a diverse array of defense responses, which seem coordinated by complex interplay between multiple hormonal response-pathways. Our results establish Mp/Arabidopsis interactions as a useful model pathosystem, allowing for application of the vast genomics-related resources of this versatile model plant to the systematic investigation of previously understudied host defenses against a major crop plant pathogen.

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