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Type III Secretion–Dependent and –Independent Phenotypes Caused by Ralstonia solanacearum in Arabidopsis Roots

AuthorsLu, Haibin; Lema Asqui, Saul; Planas-Marquès, Marc; Alonso Díaz, Alejandro; Valls, Marc ; Coll, Núria S.
Issue DateJan-2018
PublisherAmerican Phytopathological Society
CitationMolecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 31(1): 175-184 (2018)
AbstractThe causal agent of bacterial wilt, Ralstonia solanacearum, is a soilborne pathogen that invades plants through their roots, traversing many tissue layers until it reaches the xylem, where it multiplies and causes plant collapse. The effects of R. solanacearum infection are devastating, and no effective approach to fight the disease is so far available. The early steps of infection, essential for colonization, as well as the early plant defense responses remain mostly unknown. Here, we have set up a simple, in vitro Arabidopsis thaliana–R. solanacearum pathosystem that has allowed us to identify three clear root phenotypes specifically associated to the early stages of infection: root-growth inhibition, root-hair formation, and root-tip cell death. Using this method, we have been able to differentiate, on Arabidopsis plants, the phenotypes caused by mutants in the key bacterial virulence regulators hrpB and hrpG, which remained indistinguishable using the classical soil-drench inoculation pathogenicity assays. In addition, we have revealed the previously unknown involvement of auxins in the root rearrangements caused by R. solanacearum infection. Our system provides an easy-to-use, high-throughput tool to study R. solanacearum aggressiveness. Furthermore, the observed phenotypes may allow the identification of bacterial virulence determinants and could even be used to screen for novel forms of early plant resistance to bacterial wilt.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1094/MPMI-05-17-0109-FI
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