Plant-endophyte interplay protects tomato against a virulent Verticillium

Shittu, Hakeem O.; Castroverde, Danve C. M.; Nazar, Ross N.; Robb, Jane
October 2008
Planta;Oct2008, Vol. 229 Issue 2, p415
Academic Journal
Endophytes, bacterial, fungal or viral, colonize plants often without causing visible symptoms. More important, they may benefit host plants in many ways, most notably by preventing diseases caused by normally virulent pathogens. Craigella tomatoes ( Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) can be infected with Verticillium dahliae Kleb., either race 1 (Vd1) or a non-host isolate Dvd-E6 resulting in susceptibility or tolerance, respectively. The present study sought to determine whether Dvd-E6 is endophytic and can protect tomato against Vd1. The total amount of Verticillium in stems and roots was determined by quantitative PCR; the relative amounts of Vd1 and Dvd-E6 were assessed by restriction fragment polymorphism. When Dvd-E6 infects before or together with Vd1, Vd1 is excluded almost completely from the root but, when Vd1 infects first, Dvd-E6 can compete on an equal basis. Previous studies suggested that Dvd-E6 suppresses symptom-related genes, raising the possibility that Dvd-E6 simultaneously induces tolerance to Vd1. This does not seem to be entirely the case since the minimal symptoms following Vd1 infection of Dvd-E6 tolerant Craigella result, at least in part, from restricted Vd1 colonization. Furthermore, when Vd1 and Dvd-E6 are cultured on PDA plates alone or together, the growth rates are similar and neither is inhibitory to the other. Dvd-E6 does not outgrow or inhibit Vd1, in vitro. The protective effect apparently requires interplay between Dvd-E6 and the plant. Expression analyses of tomato genes involved in resistance and defence support this interpretation.


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