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Silicon modulates multi-layered defense against powdery mildew in Arabidopsis

By Lili Wang, Min Dong, Qiong Zhang, Ying Wu, Liang Hu, James F Parson, Edward Eisenstein, Xiangge Du, Shunyuan Xiao

Posted 06 Feb 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.02.05.935734 (published DOI: 10.1186/s42483-020-00048-9)

Silicon (Si) has been widely employed in agriculture to enhance resistance against pathogens in many crop plants. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms of Si-mediated resistance remain elusive. In this study, the Arabidopsis-powdery mildew pathosystem was employed to investigate possible defense mechanisms engaged for Si-mediated resistance. Because Arabidopsis lacks efficient Si transporters and thus is a low Si-accumulator, two heterologous Si influx transporters (from barley and muskmelon) were individually expressed in wild-type Arabidopsis Col-0 and a panel of mutants defective in different immune signaling pathways. Results from infection tests showed that while very low leaf Si content slightly induced salicylic acid (SA)-dependent resistance, high Si promoted PAD4-dependent but EDS1- and SA-independent resistance against the adapted powdery mildew isolate Golovinomyces cichoracearum UCSC1 . Intriguingly, our results also showed that high Si could largely reboot non-host resistance in an immune-compromised eds1/pad4/sid2 triple mutant background against a non-adapted powdery mildew isolate G. cichoracearum UMSG1. Taken together, our results suggest that assimilated Si modulates distinct, multi-layered defense mechanisms to enhance plant resistance against adapted and no-adapted powdery mildew pathogens, possibly via synergistic interaction with defense-induced callose

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