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Plant Cell. 1998 Sep;10(9):1571-80.

A novel signaling pathway controlling induced systemic resistance in Arabidopsis.

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Section of Plant Pathology, Department of Plant Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Utrecht University, Sorbonnelaan 16, 3584 CA, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Plants have the ability to acquire an enhanced level of resistance to pathogen attack after being exposed to specific biotic stimuli. In Arabidopsis, nonpathogenic, root-colonizing Pseudomonas fluorescens bacteria trigger an induced systemic resistance (ISR) response against infection by the bacterial leaf pathogen P. syringae pv tomato. In contrast to classic, pathogen-induced systemic acquired resistance (SAR), this rhizobacteria-mediated ISR response is independent of salicylic acid accumulation and pathogenesis-related gene activation. Using the jasmonate response mutant jar1, the ethylene response mutant etr1, and the SAR regulatory mutant npr1, we demonstrate that signal transduction leading to P. fluorescens WCS417r-mediated ISR requires responsiveness to jasmonate and ethylene and is dependent on NPR1. Similar to P. fluorescens WCS417r, methyl jasmonate and the ethylene precursor 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate were effective in inducing resistance against P. s. tomato in salicylic acid-nonaccumulating NahG plants. Moreover, methyl jasmonate-induced protection was blocked in jar1, etr1, and npr1 plants, whereas 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate-induced protection was affected in etr1 and npr1 plants but not in jar1 plants. Hence, we postulate that rhizobacteria-mediated ISR follows a novel signaling pathway in which components from the jasmonate and ethylene response are engaged successively to trigger a defense reaction that, like SAR, is regulated by NPR1. We provide evidence that the processes downstream of NPR1 in the ISR pathway are divergent from those in the SAR pathway, indicating that NPR1 differentially regulates defense responses, depending on the signals that are elicited during induction of resistance.

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