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Differential Induction of Systemic Resistance in Arabidopsis by Biocontrol Bacteria

August 1997 , Volume 10 , Number  6
Pages  716 - 724

Saskia C. M. Van Wees , 1 , 2 Corné M. J. Pieterse , 1 , 2 Annemiek Trijssenaar , 1 Yvonne A. M. Van 't Westende , 1 Femke Hartog , 1 and Leendert C. Van Loon 1 , 2

1Department of Plant Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Section of Plant Pathology, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 800.84, 3508 TB Utrecht, the Netherlands; and 2Graduate School of Experimental Plant Sciences, the Netherlands

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Accepted 7 May 1997.

Selected nonpathogenic, root-colonizing bacteria are able to elicit induced systemic resistance (ISR) in plants. To elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying this type of systemic resistance, an Arabidopsis-based model system was developed in which Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato and Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. raphani were used as challenging pathogens. In Arabidopsis thaliana ecotypes Columbia and Landsberg erecta, colonization of the rhizosphere by P. fluorescens strain WCS417r induced systemic resistance against both pathogens. In contrast, ecotype RLD did not respond to WCS417r treatment, whereas all three ecotypes expressed systemic acquired resistance upon treatment with salicylic acid (SA). P. fluorescens strain WCS374r, previously shown to induce ISR in radish, did not elicit ISR in Arabidopsis. The opposite was found for P. putida strain WCS358r, which induced ISR in Arabidopsis but not in radish. These results demonstrate that rhizosphere pseudomonads are differentially active in eliciting ISR in related plant species. The outer membrane lipopolysaccharide (LPS) of WCS417r is the main ISR-inducing determinant in radish and carnation, and LPS-containing cell walls also elicit ISR in Arabidopsis. However, mutant WCS417rOA¯, lacking the O-antigenic side chain of the LPS, induced levels of protection similar to those induced by wild-type WCS417r. This indicates that ISR-inducing bacteria produce more than a single factor that trigger ISR in Arabidopsis. Furthermore, WCS417r and WCS358r induced protection in both wildtype Arabidopsis and SA-nonaccumulating NahG plants without activating pathogenesis-related gene expression. This suggests that elicitation of an SA-independent signaling pathway is a characteristic feature of ISR-inducing biocontrol bacteria.

© 1997 The American Phytopathological Society