Reduction of clubroot (Plasmodiophora brassicae) formation in Arabidopsis thaliana after treatment with prohexadione-calcium, an inhibitor of oxoglutaric acid-dependent dioxygenases



Recently, flavonoids were shown to modulate the outcome of clubroot development in Arabidopsis thaliana after infection with the obligate biotrophic pathogen Plasmodiophora brassicae. Therefore, the development of clubroot disease was investigated in Arabidopsis after treatment with prohexadione-calcium (ProCa), an inhibitor of ascorbic acid/2-oxoglutaric acid-dependent dioxygenases such as flavanone-3-hydroxylase. The treatment resulted in a reduction of the flavonols quercetin and kaempferol in clubroots, whereas the precursor naringenin highly accumulated. The root system of ProCa-treated plants was better developed although galls were still visible. Thus, ProCa treatment resulted in reduced gall size. Flavonoids are thought to inhibit polar auxin transport by modulating auxin efflux carriers. It was investigated whether the auxin response might change as a consequence of the accumulation of naringenin in ProCa-treated plants. In the areas of gall development an auxin response was indicated by the auxin-responsive promoter DR5 coupled to the reporter β-glucuronidase (GUS), whereas very little staining was found in healthy root parts. No differences in GUS activity were found between P. brassicae-infected and ProCa-treated plants, and plants only infected with P. brassicae, indicating that the effect of ProCa treatment on clubroot reduction is not via changes in auxin responses. As ProCa is also an inhibitor of late steps in gibberellin biosynthesis, a specific gibberellin biosynthesis inhibitor, chlormequatchloride (CCC), was tested on club development. However, CCC did not reduce disease symptoms, indicating that the observed reduced gall development was not because of gibberellin biosynthesis inhibition by ProCa.