• Open Access

Resistance and biomass in Arabidopsis: a new model for Salicylic Acid perception


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Salicylic acid (SA) is an essential hormone for plant defence and development. SA perception is usually measured by counting the number of pathogens that grow in planta upon an exogenous application of the hormone. A biological SA perception model based on plant fresh weight reduction caused by disease resistance in Arabidopsis thaliana is proposed. This effect is more noticeable when a chemical analogue of SA is used, like Benzothiadiazole (BTH). By spraying BTH several times, a substantial difference in plant biomass is observed when compared with the mock treatment. Such difference is dose-dependent and does not require pathogen inoculation. The model is robust and allows for the comparison of different Arabidopsis ecotypes, recombinant inbreed lines, and mutants. Our results show that two mutants, non-expresser of pathogenesis-related genes 1 (npr1) and auxin resistant 3 (axr3), fail to lose biomass when BTH is applied to them. Further experiments show that axr3 responds to SA and BTH in terms of defence induction. NPR1-related genotypes also confirm the pivotal role of NPR1 in SA perception, and suggest an active program of depletion of resources in the infected tissues.