Faculty of Biology, Section Phytopathology, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80084, 3508 TB Utrecht, The Netherlands
The role of bacterially produced salicylic acid (SA) in the induction of systemic resistance in plants by rhizobacteria is far from clear. The strong SA producer Pseudomonas fluorescens WCS374r induces resistance in radish but not in Arabidopsis thaliana, whereas application of SA leads to induction of resistance in both plant species. In this study, we compared P. fluorescens WCS374r with three other SA-producing fluorescent Pseudomonas strains, P. fluorescens WCS417r and CHA0r, and P. aeruginosa 7NSK2 for their abilities to produce SA under different growth conditions and to induce systemic resistance in A. thaliana against bacterial speck, caused by P. syringae pv. tomato. All strains produced SA in vitro, varying from 5 fg cell-1 for WCS417r to >25 fg cell-1 for WCS374r. Addition of 200 μM FeCl3 to standard succinate medium abolished SA production in all strains. Whereas the incubation temperature did not affect SA production by WCS417r and 7NSK2, strains WCS374r and CHA0r produced more SA when grown at 33 instead of 28°C. WCS417r, CHA0r, and 7NSK2 induced systemic resistance apparently associated with their ability to produce SA, but WCS374r did not. Conversely, a mutant of 7NSK2 unable to produce SA still triggered induced systemic resistance (ISR). The possible involvement of SA in the induction of resistance was evaluated using SA-nonaccumulating transgenic NahG plants. Strains WCS417r, CHA0r, and 7NSK2 induced resistance in NahG Arabidopsis. Also, WCS374r, when grown at 33 or 36°C, triggered ISR in these plants, but not in ethylene-insensitive ein2 or in non-plant pathogenesis- related protein-expressing npr1 mutant plants, irrespective of the growth temperature of the bacteria. These results demonstrate that, whereas WCS374r can be manipulated to trigger ISR in Arabidopsis, SA is not the primary determinant for the induction of systemic resistance against bacterial speck disease by this bacterium. Also, for the other SAproducing strains used in this study, bacterial determinants other than SA must be responsible for inducing resistance.