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Exogenous abscisic acid and gibberellic acid elicit opposing effects on Fusarium graminearum infection in wheat

Buhrow, L.M., Cram, D., Tulpan, D., Foroud, N.A., Loewen, M.C. (2016). Exogenous abscisic acid and gibberellic acid elicit opposing effects on Fusarium graminearum infection in wheat, 106(9), 986-996. http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/PHYTO-01-16-0033-R

Abstract

© 2016 The American Phytopathological Society. Although the roles of salicylate (SA) and jasmonic acid (JA) have been well-characterized in Fusarium head blight (FHB)-infected cereals, the roles of other phytohormones remain more ambiguous. Here, the association between an array of phytohormones and FHB pathogenesis in wheat is investigated. Comprehensive profiling of endogenous hormones demonstrated altered cytokinin, gibberellic acid (GA), and JA metabolism in a FHB-resistant cultivar, whereas challenge by Fusarium graminearum increased abscisic acid (ABA), JA, and SA in both FHB-susceptible and -resistant cultivars. Subsequent investigation of ABA or GA coapplication with fungal challenge increased and decreased FHB spread, respectively. These phytohormones-induced effects may be attributed to alteration of the F. graminearum transcriptome because ABA promoted expression of earlyinfection genes, including hydrolases and cytoskeletal reorganization genes, while GA suppressed nitrogen metabolic gene expression. Neither ABA nor GA elicited significant effects on F. graminearum fungal growth or sporulation in axenic conditions, nor do these phytohormones affect trichothecene gene expression, deoxynivalenol mycotoxin accumulation, or SA/JA biosynthesis in F. graminearum-challenged wheat spikes. Finally, the combined application of GA and paclobutrazol, a Fusarium fungicide, provided additive effects on reducing FHB severity, highlighting the potential for combining fungicidal agents with select phytohormone-related treatments for management of FHB infection in wheat.

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