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Growth Promotion of Chinese Cabbage and Arabidopsis by Piriformospora indica Is Not Stimulated by Mycelium-Synthesized Auxin

April 2011 , Volume 24 , Number  4
Pages  421 - 431

Yin-Chen Lee,1 Joy Michal Johnson,2 Ching-Te Chien,3 Chao Sun,2 Daguang Cai,4 Binggan Lou,5 Ralf Oelmüller,2 and Kai-Wun Yeh1

1Institute of Plant Biology, College of Life Science, National Taiwan University, Taipei, 106, Taiwan; 2Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Institut für Allgemeine Botanik und Pflanzenphysiologie, Dornburger Str.159, 07743 Jena, Germany; 3Taiwan Forestry Research Institute, Council of Agriculture, Nan-Hai Road, 53, Taipei, 106, Taiwan; 4Molecular Phytopathology Institute, University of Kiel, Kiel, Germany; 5Institute of Biotechnology, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310029, China

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Accepted 14 December 2010.

Piriformospora indica, an endophytic fungus of the order Sebacinales, interacts with the roots of a large variety of plant species. We compared the interaction of this fungus with Chinese cabbage (Brassica campestris subsp. chinensis) and Arabidopsis seedlings. The development of shoots and roots of Chinese cabbage seedlings was strongly promoted by P. indica and the fresh weight of the seedlings increased approximately twofold. The strong stimulation of root hair development resulted in a bushy root phenotype. The auxin level in the infected Chinese cabbage roots was twofold higher compared with the uncolonized controls. Three classes of auxin-related genes, which were upregulated by P. indica in Chinese cabbage roots, were isolated from a double-subtractive expressed sequence tag library: genes for proteins related to cell wall acidification, intercellular auxin transport carrier proteins such as AUX1, and auxin signal proteins. Overexpression of B. campestris BcAUX1 in Arabidopsis strongly promoted growth and biomass production of Arabidopsis seedlings and plants; the roots were highly branched but not bushy when compared with colonized Chinese cabbage roots. This suggests that BcAUX1 is a target of P. indica in Chinese cabbage. P. indica also promoted growth of Arabidopsis seedlings but the auxin levels were not higher and auxin genes were not upregulated, implying that auxin signaling is a more important target of P. indica in Chinese cabbage than in Arabidopsis. The fungus also stimulated growth of Arabidopsis aux1 and aux1/axr4 and rhd6 seedlings. Furthermore, a component in an exudate fraction from P. indica but not auxin stimulated growth of Chinese cabbage and Arabidopsis seedlings. We propose that activation of auxin biosynthesis and signaling in the roots might be the cause for the P. indica-mediated growth phenotype in Chinese cabbage.

© 2011 The American Phytopathological Society