Plants develop an enhanced defensive capacity against a broad spectrum of plant pathogens after colonization of the roots by selected strains of nonpathogenic, fluorescent Pseudomonas spp. In Arabidopsis thaliana, this rhizobacteria-induced systemic resistance (ISR) functions independently of salicylic acid but requires responsiveness to the plant hormones jasmonic acid and ethylene. In contrast to pathogen-induced systemic acquired resistance, rhizobacteria-mediated ISR is not associated with changes in the expression of genes encoding pathogenesis-related proteins. To identify ISR-related genes, we surveyed the transcriptional response of over 8,000 Arabidopsis genes during rhizobacteria-mediated ISR. Locally in the roots, ISR-inducing Pseudomonas fluorescens WCS417r bacteria elicited a substantial change in the expression of 97 genes. However, systemically in the leaves, none of the approximately 8,000 genes tested showed a consistent change in expression in response to effective colonization of the roots by WCS417r, indicating that the onset of ISR in the leaves is not associated with detectable changes in gene expression. After challenge inoculation of WCS417r-induced plants with the bacterial leaf pathogen P. syringae pv. tomato DC3000, 81 genes showed an augmented expression pattern in ISR-expressing leaves, suggesting that these genes were primed to respond faster or more strongly upon pathogen attack. The majority of the primed genes was predicted to be regulated by jasmonic acid or ethylene signaling. Priming of pathogen-induced genes allows the plant to react more effectively to the invader encountered, which might explain the broad-spectrum action of rhizobacteria-mediated ISR.
- Transcript profiling