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Trichoderma spp. Improve Growth of Arabidopsis Seedlings Under Salt Stress Through Enhanced Root Development, Osmolite Production, and Na+ Elimination Through Root Exudates

June 2014 , Volume 27 , Number  6
Pages  503 - 514

Hexon Angel Contreras-Cornejo, Lourdes Macías-Rodríguez, Ruth Alfaro-Cuevas, and José López-Bucio

Instituto de Investigaciones Químico-Biológicas, Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, Edificio B3, Ciudad Universitaria, C. P. 58030, Morelia, Michoacán, México

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Accepted 24 January 2014.

Salt stress is an important constraint to world agriculture. Here, we report on the potential of Trichoderma virens and T. atroviride to induce tolerance to salt in Arabidopsis seedlings. We first characterized the effect of several salt concentrations on shoot biomass production and root architecture of Arabidopsis seedlings. We found that salt repressed plant growth and root development in a dose-dependent manner by blocking auxin signaling. Analysis of the wild type and eir1, aux1-7, arf7arf19, and tir1abf2abf19 auxin-related mutants revealed a key role for indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) signaling in mediating salt tolerance. We also found that T. virens (Tv29.8) and T. atroviride (IMI 206040) promoted plant growth in both normal and saline conditions, which was related to the induction of lateral roots and root hairs through auxin signaling. Arabidopsis seedlings grown under saline conditions inoculated with Trichoderma spp. showed increased levels of abscissic acid, L-proline, and ascorbic acid, and enhanced elimination of Na+ through root exudates. Our data show the critical role of auxin signaling and root architecture to salt tolerance in Arabidopsis and suggest that these fungi may enhance the plant IAA level as well as the antioxidant and osmoprotective status of plants under salt stress.

© 2014 The American Phytopathological Society