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Agroinfiltration by Cytokinin-Producing Agrobacterium sp. Strain GV3101 Primes Defense Responses in Nicotiana tabacum

November 2014 , Volume 27 , Number  11
Pages  1,175 - 1,185

Arsheed Hussain Sheikh,1,2 Badmi Raghuram,1 Lennart Eschen-Lippold,2 Dierk Scheel,2 Justin Lee,2 Alok Krishna Sinha1

1National Institute of Plant Genome Research, Aruna Asaf Ali Road, New Delhi, 110067 India; 2Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry, Weinberg 3, D-06120 Halle (Saale), Germany

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Accepted 14 July 2014.

Transient infiltrations in tobacco are commonly used in plant studies, but the host response to different disarmed Agrobacterium strains is not fully understood. The present study shows that pretreatment with disarmed Agrobacterium tumefaciens GV3101 primes the defense response to subsequent infection by Pseudomonas syringae in Nicotiana tabacum. The presence of a trans-zeatin synthase (tzs) gene in strain GV3101 may be partly responsible for the priming response, as the tzs-deficient Agrobacterium sp. strain LBA4404 only weakly imparts such responses. Besides inducing the expression of defense-related genes like PR-1 and NHL10, GV3101 pretreatment increased the expression of tobacco mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway genes like MEK2, WIPK (wound-induced protein kinase), and SIPK (salicylic acid-induced protein kinase). Furthermore, the GV3101 strain showed a stronger effect than the LBA4404 strain in activating phosphorylation of the tobacco MAPK, WIPK and SIPK, which presumably prime the plant immune machinery. Lower doses of exogenously applied cytokinins increased the activation of MAPK, while higher doses decreased the activation, suggesting a balanced level of cytokinins is required to generate defense response in planta. The current study serves as a cautionary warning for plant researchers over the choice of Agrobacterium strains and their possible consequences on subsequent pathogen-related studies.

© 2014 The American Phytopathological Society