Latent defense response to non-pathogenic microbial factors impairs plant-rhizobacteria mutualism

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Y. YangHuiming Zhang


Unlike pathogens that trigger plant defense responses, commensal or beneficial microbes are compatible with plants and do not elicit a defense response. An assumption underlying the compatibility is that plants are inert in mounting a defense response to non-pathogenic microbial factors. However, the mechanisms underlying this inertness in defense are unknown. Here a forward genetic screen led to the isolation of an Arabidopsis mutant displaying a new type of immunity which we named as latent defense response (LDR) to a beneficial rhizobacterium. The mutant, known as gp1 for Growth-Promotion 1, is impaired in rhizobacteria-induced plant growth-promotion due to disrupted oleic acid homeostasis and consequent activation of defense responses. Several bacterial volatile compounds trigger LDR in gp1 but not wild type plants. GP1 dysfunction strongly represses colonization of the beneficial rhizobacterium and alters root-associated microbiota. Our findings reveal a hidden layer of plant defense, LDR, which is suppressed by GP1 to allow mutualistic association between plants and beneficial rhizobacteria.

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