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Stabilization of Cytokinin Levels Enhances Arabidopsis Resistance Against Verticillium longisporum

August 2013 , Volume 26 , Number  8
Pages  850 - 860

Michael Reusche,1 Jana Klásková,2 Karin Thole,1 Jekaterina Truskina,1 Ondřej Novák,3 Dennis Janz,4 Miroslav Strnad,2,3 Lukáš Spíchal,2 Volker Lipka,1 and Thomas Teichmann1

1Plant Cell Biology, Albrecht-von-Haller-Institute, Georg-August-University Göttingen, Julia-Lermontowa-Weg 3, D-37077 Göttingen, Germany; 2Centre of the Region Haná for Biotechnological and Agricultural Research, Faculty of Science, Palacký University, Šlechtitelů 11, CZ-78371 Olomouc, Czech Republic; 3Laboratory of Growth Regulators, Palacký University & Institute of Experimental Botany AS CR, Šlechtitelů 11 CZ-78371 Olomouc, Czech Republic; 4Forest Botany and Tree Physiology, Büsgen-Institute, Georg-August-University, Büsgenweg 2, D-37077 Göttingen, Germany

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Accepted 2 April 2013.

Verticillium longisporum is a vascular pathogen that infects the Brassicaceae host plants Arabidopsis thaliana and Brassica napus. The soilborne fungus enters the plant via the roots and colonizes the xylem of roots, stems, and leaves. During late stages of infections, Verticillium spp. spread into senescing tissue and switch from biotrophic to a necrotrophic life style. Typical symptoms of V. longisporum-induced disease are stunted growth and leaf chlorosis. Expression analyses of the senescence marker genes SENESCENCE-ASSOCIATED GENE12, SENESCENCE-ASSOCIATED GENE13, and WRKY53 revealed that the observed chlorosis is a consequence of premature senescence triggered by Verticillium infection. Our analyses show that, concomitant with the development of chlorosis, levels of trans-zeatin decrease in infected plants. Potentially, induction of cytokinin oxidase/dehydrogenase expression by Verticillium infection contributes to the observed decreases in cytokinin levels. Stabilization of Arabidopsis cytokinin levels by both pharmacological and genetic approaches inhibits Verticillium proliferation and coincides with reduced disease symptom development. In summary, our results indicate that V. longisporum triggers premature plant senescence for efficient host plant colonization.

© 2013 The American Phytopathological Society