Department of Plant Biology and Forest Genetics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 7080, 750 07 Uppsala, Sweden
The responses of Arabidopsis accessions and characterized genotypes were used to explore components in the early defense responses to the soilborne fungus Verticillium longisporum. V. longisporum susceptibility was found to be a complex trait, in which different disease phenotypes, such as stunting, altered flowering time, weight loss, and chlorosis were perceived differently across genotypes. A Bay-0 × Shahdara recombinant inbred line population was used to identify two loci on chromosomes 2 and 3 of Bay-0 origin that caused enhanced chlorosis after V. longisporum challenge. Furthermore, the observation that a mutation in RFO1 in Col-0 resulted in susceptibility whereas the natural rfo1 allele in Ty-0 showed a high degree of resistance to the pathogen supports the hypothesis that several resistance quantitative trait loci reside among Arabidopsis accessions. Analysis of mutants impaired in known pathogen response pathways revealed an enhanced susceptibility in ein2-1, ein4-1, ein6-1, esa1-1, and pad1-1, but not in other jasmonic acid (JA)-, ethylene (ET)-, or camalexin-deficient mutants, suggesting that V. longisporum resistance is regulated via a hitherto unknown JA- and ET-associated pathway. Pretreatments with the ET precursor 1-aminocyclo-propane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) or methyl jasmonate (MeJA) caused enhanced resistance to V. longisporum. Mutants in the salicylic acid (SA) pathway (eds1-1, NahG, npr1-3, pad4-1, and sid2-1) did not show enhanced susceptibility to V. longisporum. In contrast, the more severe npr1-1 allele displayed enhanced V. longisporum susceptibility and decreased responses to ACC or MeJA pretreatments. This shows that cytosolic NPR1, in addition to SA responses, is required for JA- and ET-mediated V. longisporum resistance. Expression of the SA-dependent PR-1 and PR-2 and the ET-dependent PR-4 were increased 7 days postinoculation with V. longisporum. This indicates increased levels of SA and ET in response to V. longisporum inoculation. The R-gene signaling mutant ndr1-1 was found to be susceptible to V. longisporum, which could be complemented by ACC or MeJA pretreatments, in contrast to the rfo1 T-DNA mutant, which remained susceptible, suggesting that RFO1 (Fusarium oxysporum resistance) and NDR1 (nonrace specific disease resistance 1) activate two distinct signaling pathways for V. longisporum resistance.