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Effects of Bacterial ACC Deaminase on Brassica napus Gene Expression

May 2012 , Volume 25 , Number  5
Pages  668 - 676

Jennifer C. Stearns, Owen Z. Woody, Brendan J. McConkey, and Bernard R. Glick

Department of Biology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1, Canada

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Accepted 5 January 2012.

Plants in association with plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria can benefit from lower plant ethylene levels through the action of the bacterial enzyme 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) deaminase. This enzyme cleaves the immediate biosynthetic precursor of ethylene, ACC. Ethylene is responsible for many aspects of plant growth and development but, under stressful conditions, it exacerbates stress symptoms. The ACC deaminase-containing bacterium Pseudomonas putida UW4 is a potent plant growth-promoting strain and, as such, was used to elaborate the detailed role of bacterial ACC deaminase in Brassica napus (canola) plant growth promotion. Transcriptional changes in bacterially treated canola plants were investigated with the use of an Arabidopsis thaliana oligonucleotide microarray. A heterologous approach was necessary because there are few tools available at present to measure global expression changes in nonmodel organisms, specifically with the sensitivity of microarrays. The results indicate that the transcription of genes involved in plant hormone regulation, secondary metabolism, and stress response was altered in plants by the presence of the bacterium, whereas the upregulation of genes for auxin response factors and the downregulation of stress response genes was observed only in the presence of bacterial ACC deaminase. These results support the suggestion that there is a direct link between ethylene and the auxin response, which has been suggested from physiological studies, and provide more evidence for the stress-reducing benefits of ACC deaminase-expressing plant growth-promoting bacteria.

© 2012 The American Phytopathological Society