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N-Acyl-Homoserine Lactone Confers Resistance Toward Biotrophic And Hemibiotrophic Pathogens Via Altered Activation Of AtMPK6    

Adam Schikora, Sebastian T. Schenk, Elke Stein, Alexandra Molitor, Alga Zuccaro, Karl-Heinz Kogel

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Abstract Pathogenic and symbiotic bacteria rely on quorum sensing to coordinate the collective behavior during the interactions with their eukaryotic hosts. Many Gram-negative bacteria use N-acyl-homoserine lactones (AHLs) as signals in such communication. Here we show that plants have evolved means to perceive AHLs and that the length of acyl moiety and the functional group at the γ position specify the plant’s response. Root treatment with the N-3-oxo-tetradecanoyl-L-homoserine lactone (oxo-C14-HSL) reinforced the systemic resistance to the obligate biotrophic fungi Golovinomyces orontii in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) and Blumeria graminis f. sp. hordei in barley (Hordeum vulgare) plants. In addition, oxo-C14-HSL-treated Arabidopsis plants were more resistant toward the hemibiotrophic bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv tomato DC3000. Oxo-C14-HSL promoted a stronger activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases AtMPK3 and AtMPK6 when challenged with flg22, followed by a higher expression of the defense-related transcription factors WRKY22 and WRKY29, as well as the PATHOGENESIS-RELATED1 gene. In contrast to wild-type Arabidopsis and mpk3 mutant, the mpk6 mutant is compromised in the AHL effect, suggesting that AtMPK6 is required for AHL-induced resistance. Results of this study show that AHLs commonly produced in the rhizosphere are crucial factors in plant pathology and could be an agronomic issue whose full impact has to be elucidated in future analyses.