Lipid transfer proteins and protease inhibitors as key factors in the priming of barley responses to Fusarium head blight disease by a biocontrol strain of Pseudomonas fluorescens
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Strains of non-pathogenic pseudomonad bacteria, can elicit host defence responses against pathogenic microorganisms. Pseudomonas fluorescens strain MKB158 can protect cereals from pathogenesis by Fusarium fungi, including Fusarium head blight which is an economically important disease due to its association with both yield loss and mycotoxin contamination of grain. Using the 22 K barley Affymetrix chip, trancriptome studies were undertaken to determine the local effect of P. fluorescens strain MKB158 on the transcriptome of barley head tissue, and to discriminate transcripts primed by the bacterium to respond to challenge by Fusarium culmorum, a causal agent of the economically important Fusarium head blight disease of cereals. The bacterium significantly affected the accumulation of 1203 transcripts and primed 74 to positively, and 14 to negatively, respond to the pathogen (P = 0.05). This is the first study to give insights into bacterium priming in the Triticeae tribe of grasses and associated transcripts were classified into 13 functional classes, associated with diverse functions, including detoxification, cell wall biosynthesis and the amplification of host defence responses. In silico analysis of Arabidopsis homologs of bacterium-primed barley genes indicated that, as is the case in dicots, jasmonic acid plays a role in pseudomonad priming of host responses. Additionally, the transcriptome studies described herein also reveal new insights into bacterium-mediated priming of host defences against necrotrophs, including the positive effects on grain filling, lignin deposition, oxidative stress responses, and the inhibition of protease inhibitors and proteins that play a key role in programmed cell death.