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Keywords:

  • salicylic acid;
  • symptom development;
  • tolerance;
  • nahG

Summary

A new allele of the coronatine-insensitive locus (COI1) was isolated in a screen for Arabidopsis thaliana mutants with enhanced resistance to the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae. This mutant, designated coi1-20, exhibits robust resistance to several P. syringae isolates but remains susceptible to the virulent pathogens Erisyphe and cauliflower mosaic virus. Resistance to P. syringae strain PstDC3000 in coi1-20 plants is correlated with hyperactivation of PR-1 expression and accumulation of elevated levels of salicylic acid (SA) following infection, suggesting that the SA-mediated defense response pathway is sensitized in this mutant. Restriction of growth of PstDC3000 in coi1-20 leaves is partially dependent on NPR1 and fully dependent on SA, indicating that SA-mediated defenses are required for restriction of PstDC3000 growth in coi1-20 plants. Surprisingly, despite high levels of PstDC3000 growth in coi1-20 plants carrying the salicylate hydroxylase (nahG) transgene, these plants do not exhibit disease symptoms. Thus resistance to P. syringae in coi1-20 plants is conferred by two different mechanisms: (i) restriction of pathogen growth via activation of the SA-dependent defense pathway; and (ii) an SA-independent inability to develop disease symptoms. These findings are consistent with the hypotheses that the P. syringae phytotoxin coronatine acts to promote virulence by inhibiting host defense responses and by promoting lesion formation.