Abscisic acid interacts antagonistically with classical defense pathways in rice–migratory nematode interaction


Author for correspondence:

Godelieve Gheysen

Tel: +32 92645888

Email: godelieve.gheysen@ugent.be


  • Studies involving plant–nematode interactions provide an opportunity to unravel plant defense signaling in root tissues. In this study, we have characterized the roles of salicylate (SA), jasmonate (JA), ethylene (ET) and abscisic acid (ABA) in plant defense against the migratory nematode Hirschmanniella oryzae in the monocot model plant rice (Oryza sativa).
  • Experiments with exogenous hormone applications, biosynthesis inhibition and mutant/transgenic lines were executed to test the effect on H. oryzae parasitism in rice roots.
  • Our results demonstrate that an intact ET, JA and SA biosynthesis pathway is a prerequisite for defense against H. oryzae. By contrast, exogenous ABA treatment drastically compromised the rice defense towards this nematode. Gene expression analyses using quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) demonstrate that the disease-inducing effect of ABA is likely to be the result of an antagonistic interaction between this hormone and the SA/JA/ET-dependent basal defense system.
  • Collectively, in rice defense against H. oryzae, at least three pathways, namely SA, JA and ET, are important, while ABA plays a negative role in defense. Our results suggest that the balance of ABA and SA/JA/ET signaling is an important determinant for the outcome of the rice–H. oryzae interaction.