, Volume 225, Issue 1, pp 1–12 | Cite as

Infection with virulent and avirulent P. syringae strains differentially affects photosynthesis and sink metabolism in Arabidopsis leaves

  • Katharina B. Bonfig
  • Ulrich Schreiber
  • Andrea Gabler
  • Thomas Roitsch
  • Susanne BergerEmail author
Original Article


Infection of plants with pathogens leads not only to the induction of defence reactions but also to changes in carbohydrate metabolism. In this study, the effects of infection by a virulent and an avirulent strain of P. syringae on spatio-temporal changes in photosynthesis were compared using chlorophyll fluorescence imaging. The maximum PSII quantum yield, effective PSII quantum yield and nonphotochemical quenching were decreased in Arabidopsis leaves infected with either strain. At the same time, the quantum yield of nonregulated energy dissipation was increased. These changes could be detected by chlorophyll fluorescence imaging before symptoms were visible by eye. The effects were restricted to the vicinity of the infection site and did not spread to uninfected areas of the leaf. Qualitatively similar changes in photosynthetic parameters were observed in both interactions. Major differences between the responses to both strains were evident in the onset and time course of changes. A decrease in photosynthesis was detectable already at 3 h only after challenge with the avirulent strain while after 48 h the rate of photosynthesis was lower with the virulent strain. In contrast to photosynthesis, the regulation of marker genes for source/sink relations and the activities of invertase isoenzymes showed qualitative differences between both interactions. Inoculation of the virulent but not the avirulent strain resulted in downregulation of photosynthetic genes and upregulation of vacuolar invertases. The activity of vacuolar invertases transiently increased upon infection with the virulent strain but decreased with the avirulent strain while extracellular invertase activity was downregulated in both interactions.


Arabidopsis Chlorophyll fluorescence imaging Pseudomonas infection Source/sink 



Area of interest


Relative electron transport rate


Maximum photosystem II quantum yield


Hypersensitive response


Photosynthetically active radiation


Photosystem II


Nonphotochemical quenching


Effective photosystem II quantum yield



We are grateful to M. Rostas for statistical analyses and to W. Kaiser for sugar determinations. This work was supported by Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Umwelt, Gesundheit und Verbraucherschutz and the SFB 567.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katharina B. Bonfig
    • 1
  • Ulrich Schreiber
    • 1
  • Andrea Gabler
    • 1
  • Thomas Roitsch
    • 1
  • Susanne Berger
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Julius-von-Sachs-Institut fuer BiowissenschaftenUniversitaet WuerzburgWuerzburgGermany

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