Pathogen-associated molecular pattern-triggered immunity and resistance to the root pathogen Phytophthora parasitica in Arabidopsis

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The cellulose binding elicitor lectin (CBEL) of the genus Phytophthora induces necrosis and immune responses in several plant species, including Arabidopsis thaliana. However, the role of CBEL-induced responses in the outcome of the interaction is still unclear. This study shows that some of CBEL-induced defence responses, but not necrosis, required the receptor-like kinase BAK1, a general regulator of basal immunity in Arabidopsis, and the production of a reactive oxygen burst mediated by respiratory burst oxidases homologues (RBOH). Screening of a core collection of 48 Arabidopsis ecotypes using CBEL uncovered a large variability in CBEL-induced necrotic responses. Analysis of non-responsive CBEL lines Ws-4, Oy-0, and Bla-1 revealed that Ws-4 and Oy-0 were also impaired in the production of the oxidative burst and expression of defence genes, whereas Bla-1 was partially affected in these responses. Infection tests using two Phytophthora parasitica strains, Pp310 and Ppn0, virulent and avirulent, respectively, on the Col-0 line showed that BAK1 and RBOH mutants were susceptible to Ppn0, suggesting that some immune responses controlled by these genes, but not CBEL-induced cell death, are required for Phytophthora parasitica resistance. However, Ws-4, Oy-0, and Bla-1 lines were not affected in Ppn0 resistance, showing that natural variability in CBEL responsiveness is not correlated to Phytophthora susceptibility. Overall, the results uncover a BAK1- and RBOH-dependent CBEL-triggered immunity essential for Phytophthora resistance and suggest that natural quantitative variation of basal immunity triggered by conserved general elicitors such as CBEL does not correlate to Phytophthora susceptibility.

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