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Abnormal Callose Response Phenotype and Hypersusceptibility to Peronospora parasitica in Defense-Compromised Arabidopsis nim1-1 and Salicylate Hydroxylase-Expressing Plants

April 2001 , Volume 14 , Number  4
Pages  439 - 450

Nicole M. Donofrio and Terrence P. Delaney

Cornell University, Department of Plant Pathology, 360 Plant Science Building, Ithaca, NY 14853, U.S.A.

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Accepted 8 December 2000.

To investigate the impact of induced host defenses on the virulence of a compatible Peronospora parasitica strain on Arabidopsis thaliana, we examined growth and development of this pathogen in nim1-1 mutants and transgenic salicylate hydroxylase plants. These plants are unable to respond to or accumulate salicylic acid (SA), respectively, are defective in expression of systemic acquired resistance (SAR), and permit partial growth of some normally avirulent pathogens. We dissected the P. parasitica life cycle into nine stages and compared its progression through these stages in the defense-compromised hosts and in wild-type plants. NahG plants supported the greatest accumulation of pathogen biomass and conidiophore production, followed by nim1-1 and then wild-type plants. Unlike the wild type, NahG and nim1-1 plants showed little induction of the SAR gene PR-1 after colonization with P. parasitica, which is similar to our previous observations. We examined the frequency and morphology of callose deposits around parasite haustoria and found significant differences between the three hosts. NahG plants showed a lower fraction of haustoria surrounded by thick callose encasements and a much higher fraction of hausto-ria with callose limited to thin collars around haustorial necks compared to wild type, whereas nim1-1 plants were intermediate between NahG and wild type. Chemical induction of SAR in plants colonized by P. parasitica converted the extrahaustorial callose phenotype in NahG to resemble closely the wild-type pattern, but had no effect on nim1-1 plants. These results suggest that extrahausto-rial callose deposition is influenced by the presence or lack of SA and that this response may be sensitive to the NIM1/NPR1 pathway. Additionally, the enhanced susceptibility displayed by nim1-1 and NahG plants shows that even wild-type susceptible hosts exert defense functions that reduce disease severity and pathogen fitness.

Additional keywords: 2,6-dichloroisonicotinic acid (INA) ; disease resistance ; downy mildew ; ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS).

© 2001 The American Phytopathological Society