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Auxin Signaling and Transport Promote Susceptibility to the Root-Infecting Fungal Pathogen Fusarium oxysporum in Arabidopsis

June 2011 , Volume 24 , Number  6
Pages  733 - 748

Brendan N. Kidd,1,2 Narendra Y. Kadoo,1 Bruno Dombrecht,1 Mücella Tekeoglu,1 Donald M. Gardiner,1 Louise F. Thatcher,1 Elizabeth A. B. Aitken,2 Peer M. Schenk,2 John M. Manners,1 and Kemal Kazan1

1Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization Plant Industry, Queensland Bioscience Precinct, St Lucia, Queensland, 4067, and 2School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland, 4072, Australia

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Accepted 14 January 2011.

Fusarium oxysporum is a root-infecting fungal pathogen that causes wilt disease on a broad range of plant species, including the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Currently, very little is known about the molecular or physiological processes that are activated in the host during infection and the roles these processes play in resistance and susceptibility to F. oxysporum. In this study, we analyzed global gene expression profiles of F. oxysporum-infected Arabidopsis plants. Genes involved in jasmonate biosynthesis as well as jasmonate-dependent defense were coordinately induced by F. oxysporum. Similarly, tryptophan pathway genes, including those involved in both indole-glucosinolate and auxin biosynthesis, were upregulated in both the leaves and the roots of inoculated plants. Analysis of plants expressing the DR5:GUS construct suggested that root auxin homeostasis was altered during F. oxysporum infection. However, Arabidopsis mutants with altered auxin and tryptophan-derived metabolites such as indole-glucosinolates and camalexin did not show an altered resistance to this pathogen. In contrast, several auxin-signaling mutants were more resistant to F. oxysporum. Chemical or genetic alteration of polar auxin transport also conferred increased pathogen resistance. Our results suggest that, similarly to many other pathogenic and nonpathogenic or beneficial soil organisms, F. oxysporum requires components of auxin signaling and transport to colonize the plant more effectively. Potential mechanisms of auxin signaling and transport-mediated F. oxysporum susceptibility are discussed.

© 2011 The American Phytopathological Society