Volatile compounds emitted by diverse phytopathogenic microorganisms promote plant growth and flowering through cytokinin action
Ángela María Sánchez-López, Marouane Baslam, Nuria De Diego, Francisco José Muñoz, Abdellatif Bahaji, Goizeder Almagro, Adriana Ricarte-Bermejo, Pablo García-Gómez, Jun Li, Jan F. Humplík, Ondřej Novák, Lukáš Spíchal, Karel Doležal, Edurne Baroja-Fernández and Javier Pozueta-Romero
Version of Record online: 16 JUN 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/pce.12759
It is known that volatile emissions from some beneficial rhizosphere microorganisms promote plant growth. Here we show that volatile compounds (VCs) emitted by phylogenetically diverse rhizosphere and non-rhizhosphere bacteria and fungi (including plant pathogens and microbes that do not normally interact mutualistically with plants) promote growth and flowering of various plant species, including crops. Transcriptomic analyses revealed that many genes differentially expressed in Arabidopsis plants treated with VCs emitted by the fungal phytopathogen Alternaria alternata were also differentially expressed in plants exposed to VCs emitted by the plant growth promoting rhizobacterium Bacillus subtilis GB03, suggesting that plants react to microbial VCs through highly conserved regulatory mechanisms. The discovery that VCs from pathogenic microorganisms can have beneficial effects on plant growth and development extends knowledge of the diversity and complexity of the interactions involved in modulation of plant physiology, raising questions regarding the evolution of the processes, their ecological significance and potential applications.