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Role of Iron in Rhizobacteria-Mediated Induced Systemic Resistance of Cucumber

June 2001 , Volume 91 , Number  6
Pages  593 - 598

C. M. Press , J. E. Loper , and J. W. Kloepper

First author: Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Oregon State University, Corvallis 97331; second author: Horticulture Crops Research Lab, USDA-ARS, Corvallis, OR 97330; and third author: Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Auburn University, AL 36849

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Accepted for publication 16 March 2001.

Seed treatment with the rhizosphere bacterium Serratia marcescens strain 90-166 suppressed anthracnose of cucumber, caused by Colleto-trichum orbiculare, through induced systemic resistance (ISR). When the iron concentration of a planting mix was decreased by addition of an iron chelator, suppression of cucumber anthracnose by strain 90-166 was significantly improved. Strain 90-166 produced 465 ± 70 mg/liter of catechol siderophore, as determined by the Rioux assay in deferrated King's medium B. The hypothesis that a catechol siderophore produced by strain 90-166 may be responsible for induction of systemic resistance by this strain was tested by evaluating disease suppression by a mini-Tn5-phoA mutant deficient in siderophore production. Sequence analysis of genomic DNA flanking the mini-Tn5-phoA insertion identified the target gene as entA, which encodes an enzyme in the catechol siderophore biosynthetic pathways of several bacteria. Severity of anthracnose of cucumbers treated with the entA mutant was not significantly different (P = 0.05) from the control, whereas plants treated with wild-type 90-166 had significantly less disease (P = 0.05) than the control. Total (internal and external) population sizes of 90-166 and the entA mutant on roots did not differ significantly (P = 0.05) at any sample time, whereas internal population sizes of the entA mutant were significantly lower (P = 0.05) than those of the wild-type strain at two sampling times. These data suggest that catechol siderophore biosynthesis genes in Serratia marcescens 90-166 are associated with ISR but that this role may be indirect via a reduction in internal root populations.

Additional keywords: systemic acquired resistance .

The American Phytopathological Society, 2001