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Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 2020 Jan 23:MPMI10190295TA. doi: 10.1094/MPMI-10-19-0295-TA. [Epub ahead of print]

A High-Throughput, Seedling Screen for Plant Immunity.

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Department of Cell and Systems Biology, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Centre for the Analysis of Genome Evolution & Function, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


An understanding of how biological diversity affects plant-microbe interactions is becoming increasingly important, particularly with respect to components of the pathogen effector arsenal and the plant immune system. Although technological improvements have greatly advanced our ability to examine molecular sequences and interactions, relatively few advances have been made that facilitate high-throughput, in vivo pathology screens. Here, we present a high-throughput, microplate-based, nondestructive seedling pathology assay, and apply it to identify Arabidopsis thaliana effector-triggered immunity (ETI) responses against Pseudomonas syringae type III secreted effectors. The assay was carried out in a 48-well microplate format with spray inoculation, and disease symptoms were quantitatively recorded in a semiautomated manner, thereby greatly reducing both time and costs. The assay requires only slight modifications of common labware and uses no proprietary software. We validated the assay by recapitulating known ETI responses induced by P. syringae in Arabidopsis. We also demonstrated that we can quantitatively differentiate responses from a diversity of plant genotypes grown in the same microplate. Finally, we showed that the results obtained from our assay can be used to perform genome-wide association studies to identify host immunity genes, recapitulating results that have been independently obtained with mature plants.


Arabidopsis thaliana; Pseudomonas syringae; avirulence factors; effector-triggered immunity (ETI); effectors; resistance genes; screen; seedling; type III secreted effector (T3SE); type-3 secretion


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