Silicon-mediated resistance of Arabidopsis against powdery mildew involves mechanisms other than the salicylic acid (SA)-dependent defence pathway.

Vivancos, J., Labbé, C., Menzies, J.G., and Bélanger, R.R. (2015). "Silicon-mediated resistance of Arabidopsis against powdery mildew involves mechanisms other than the salicylic acid (SA)-dependent defence pathway.", Molecular Plant Pathology, 16(6), pp. 572-582. doi : 10.1111/mpp.12213  Access to full text

Abstract

On absorption by plants, silicon (Si) offers protection against many fungal pathogens, including powdery mildews. The mechanisms by which Si exerts its prophylactic role remain enigmatic, although a prevailing hypothesis suggests that Si positively influences priming. Attempts to decipher Si properties have been limited to plants able to absorb Si, which excludes the model plant Arabidopsis because it lacks Si influx transporters. In this work, we were able to engineer Arabidopsis plants with an Si transporter from wheat (TaLsi1) and to exploit mutants (pad4 and sid2) deficient in salicylic acid (SA)-dependent defence responses to study their phenotypic response and changes in defence expression against Golovinomyces cichoracearum (Gc) following Si treatment. Our results showed that TaLsi1 plants contained significantly more Si and were significantly more resistant to Gc infection than control plants when treated with Si, the first such demonstration in a plant transformed with a heterologous Si transporter. The resistant plants accumulated higher levels of SA and expressed higher levels of transcripts encoding defence genes, thus suggesting a role for Si in the process. However, TaLsi1 pad4 and TaLsi1 sid2 plants were also more resistant to Gc than were pad4 and sid2 plants following Si treatment. Analysis of the resistant phenotypes revealed a significantly reduced production of SA and expression of defence genes comparable with susceptible controls. These results indicate that Si contributes to Arabidopsis defence priming following pathogen infection, but highlight that Si will confer protection even when priming is altered. We conclude that Si-mediated protection involves mechanisms other than SA-dependent defence responses.

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